Fleetwood Travel Trailers of Ohio will cease operations by the end of the year at its Edgerton factory, according to a report in the Toledo Blade.
The plant, located three miles from the Indiana line and 65 miles west of Toledo, employs around 250 workers. According to a company spokesperson, production will be shifted to plants in Indiana and Kentucky.
“This was not a decision that was made very long ago, and it was not made easily,” said Kathy Munson, director of investor relations for parent company Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., in Riverside, Calif. “But we did have excess capacity and we needed to deal with that one way or another.”
In its fiscal 2005 second-quarter revenues report, Fleetwood noted a softening in the retail industry and a 16% decline in towable sales, which includes travel-trailer and camping-trailer operations.
“The RV industry has recently seen some signs of retail slowing,” Fleetwood’s President and CEO Ed Caudill said in the preliminary report.
The Blade reported that Fleetwood filed a required shutdown notice with the state this week indicating that 324 workers would be laid off by Dec. 31. Munson said the current employee count is 247.
Edgerton Administrator Jim Brown said the plant closing would be a blow to the town’s 2,200 residents. Using an average wage of $12.50 for the workers, Brown estimated the community would lose $80,000 a year in income-tax revenue, or about 12% to 13% of its general fund.
He said he has contacted state economic development officials about offering Fleetwood no or low-interest loans to upgrade the equipment at the 35-year-old Edgerton plant so it could make fiberglass bodies in addition to aluminum-sided trailers, hoping the company would change its decision.
Munson said company officials were hoping to work with Fleetwood locations in Decatur, Ind., and other Edgerton plants to try to find new jobs for the displaced workers.