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High fuel costs and increased product demand are encouraging more companies to seek out western manufacturing sites to be closer to growing markets, according to a press release from the Idaho Commerce and Labor office.
Over the last year, three companies, including recreational vehicle manufacturer Jayco Inc., have opened manufacturing facilities in south central Idaho.
In addition to the Middlebury, Ind.-based RV builder, trailer manufacturer Kiefer Built LLC and Hilex Poly, a leading producer of plastic grocery bags, have opened operations that will eventually create over 200 jobs in the region. Combined, the three companies currently have more than 100 positions they need to fill.
“South central Idaho is a great place to live and work,” said Pam Petersen, Idaho Commerce and Labor office manager in Twin Falls. “We are fortunate to have the kind of business expansion that includes exciting career opportunities.”
Jayco, which is producing its Jay Flight line of travel trailers and fifth-wheels in a 154,000-square-foot leased facility in Twin Falls, rolled its first unit off the line on March 15. Jayco President and COO Derald Bontrager said more RVs are already being shipped to the West Coast.
“Manufacturing RVs in Twin Falls, Idaho, rather than shipping them from Middlebury, Ind., is expected to save us $2 million in freight costs over the next three years,” he said.
Kiefer Built President Jack Thornton said reducing transportation costs for the Kanawha, Iowa-based company was paramount in the company’s decision to start manufacturing in Gooding, Idaho.
“Regional facilities are part of our long-term strategy to cut transportation costs,” Thornton said. “If we don’t, those costs either come out of our profit margins or are passed on to dealers.”