Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc. is planning to add as many as 425 new jobs in the next two years. As part of a $6.7 million investment, the recreational vehicle manufacturer has acquired four LaGrange County facilities that have been vacant for several years. Inside INdiana Business reported that Forest River says the expansion will help meet backlogged demand for its Cherokee fifth-wheel and travel trailer lines.
Renovations on one facility could be complete over the next couple of weeks and two others could wrap up by May. The future of the fourth facility could be determined by the end of the year. In total, the existing facilities cover 450,000 square feet on over 100 acres.
“Forest River coming to LaGrange is a huge win for the town,” said Mark Eagleson, LaGrange town manager. “It will bring quality high-paying jobs, increased business for our retailers and hopefully stimulate housing growth. It is clearly the largest economic growth the town has seen in at least 20 years.”
Forest River Public Relations Director Mike Stump noted, “As a company that manufactures RVs across the nation, we considered many options before we decided to expand production into LaGrange. As home to the ‘RV Capital of the World,’ Indiana offers the business climate and skilled labor force we need to to quickly increase production of the Cherokee line to meet rising demand. At Forest River, we’re proud to be headquartered in the home of RVs and even more excited for our future of growth here in Indiana.”
The company currently employs a total of 11,000 in Indiana. In 2014, Forest River opened a new facility in Bristol and added equipment to three Goshen operations. Initial plans called for 185 new workers, a number the manufacturer has exceeded.
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