An RV rally in Decatur, Ind., is raising support to keep Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.’s operations there. It comes just weeks after a New York company bought the bankrupt RV maker. Now, the future of Decatur’s plant is up in the air.
This week, nearly one hundred RVs in town for a special rally could help turn things around, according to WANE-TV, Fort Wayne.
The motorhomes come from all over, in different sizes and colors but with one very important thing in common: they were all made by Fleetwood.
“This is where all the motorhomes that people have purchased were built at, here at Plant 44 in Decatur, Ind.,” explained Randy Hendricks, Fleetwood rally coordinator.
And, in the parking lot of Bellmont High School is where you’ll find all those American Coaches.
Ninety-seven have come to town for a special “Coming Back Home Rally.” It’s one of the annual events held by the American Coach Chapter of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).
Every year dozens of RV owners take part in event just like the rally for a little fun and fellowship, but this year, the rally in Decatur also has a special purpose.
“We want Fleetwood to stay and we want to show Decatur how much they mean to us,” Marcia Bratsburg, eastern director of the American Coach Chapter told NewsChannel 15.
After a turbulent year of layoffs and filing for bankruptcy for the company, rally organizers hope the event is also a lifeline for Fleetwood.
Last year, Fleetwood cut 550 of its 600 workers. In March, it filed for bankruptcy.
The struggling RV maker was recently bought by a New York company, American Industrial Partners, and it’s not clear how the purchase will affect the Decatur plant.
Decatur Mayor John Schultz is optimistic the showing of support might convince the new buyers to keep Fleetwood operations right where they are.
“I hope that will have an impact; hopefully, it give us a heads up on any other competition that we’re up against,” explained Schultz.
The RVs will be gone when the rally ends on Saturday (July 18); but just a few days after that, Schultz is hoping for an announcement that Fleetwood won’t be leaving.
City leaders also recently granted Fleetwood a tax abatement to further encourage the company to keep its operations in Decatur.