Idaho Gov. Jim Risch visited Burley this week to present more than $1.5 million in state funds to help Dutchmen Manufacturing start producing travel trailers at a former potato processing plant purchased in April.
The Times News, Twin Falls, reported that Risch presented city officials with a $750,000 check to help with the water system at the Dutchmen plant. He presented an additional $800,000 in workforce training funds to Goshen, Ind.-based Dutchmen, a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.
“The state can, and should be, the catalyst for providing good jobs (in rural settings) and that’s what we’re doing here today,” Risch said. “When Dutchmen agreed to come here, we promised a number of things and we’re here today to make good on those promises.”
He then signed the workforce development check from the Idaho Commerce and Labor that will allow Dutchmen to keep taking its local employees back to its plant in Indiana to train them.
Tadd Jenkins, of Bish’s RV, a Dutchmen dealer with stores in Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls, was on hand to see the business move one step closer to ramping up.
Jenkins was responsible for getting Dutchmen’s owners to visit Burley and consider it as a place to manufacture RVs. He admits to having a motive in mind.
“The savings for me on freight alone will be $2,200 per unit,” said Jenkins, who manages the Twin Falls store. “Each unit is hauled by a pickup, one at a time, and with the current cost of fuel, it was getting close to prohibitive to bring them from the east.”
Steve Aspy, Dutchmen’s director of manufacturing, said he expects to begin production as early as next week, on a limited basis.