Northern Indiana and southwest Michigan seem to be climbing out of the recession little by little. Unemployment is down and hiring is up.

And a local RV company is leading the way and turning the tables for a troubled industry, according to WNDU, South Bend, Ind.

In an economy that has delivered quite a blow to the RV industry, it may come as a surprise to hear Crossroads RV in Topeka, Ind. is not laying off workers, but hiring 125 new employees in the upcoming months.

“As long as the person is willing to work, willing to create the best product they can, we’re really open to hiring anybody,” said Mark Lucas, Crossroads president. “The nice thing in this area is hard work ethic, farming community, that’s really what you get.”

Elkhart and LaGrange counties are feeling the brunt of the RV cuts. New technology and innovation is now leading to production of smaller, lighter RV’s which can be hauled by your everyday car – not a massive pickup truck.

“Both expandable units which are 19, 18 foot units with tent ends, and ultra-light units called the Slingshot towed by 6-cylinder mini vans, SUVs, today’s truck,” said Lucas.

More than 43,000 square feet of space will be used when production of the Slingshot and Sunset trailers begins as soon as next month.

According to Lucas, sales have been up over the last few months – making way for new production in preparation for spring of 2010.

“We feel that whatever we do affects the community. So when one company slows down, the community feels it,” said Lucas. “So we really feel hiring 125 from the local community will really be a shot in the arm for all local businesses.”

“We’re expecting several hundred applications and I am sure all of them will be great applications, but we expect to get 125 qualified and skilled workers and we’re really excited about it. (We want) to get some of the best people available,” said Lucas.

More than 300 people are employed by crossroads RV.