Jayco Inc. is gearing up to roll the first travel trailer off the line at its new towable plant in Twin Falls, Idaho. And, according to a report in the Twin Falls Times News, at least one local business is seeing a boost to its operations as a result of the RV builder’s arrival.
In late October, Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco announced plans to lease a 154,000-square-foot facility in Twin Falls to produce its Jay Flight towable line and position the company closer to a growing Western market.
Plant Manager Dave Yoder reported Tuesday (Jan. 4) that renovation is near completion and the facility should be in full production on Jan. 17.
“It’s been a fast seven weeks,” Yoder said.
He said Jayco’s Twin Falls operation has 10 employees and plans to hire eight or nine more through January, mainly assembly-line positions. The plant likely will operate with those workers until March, then open up hiring again, he said.
Jayco’s goal is to produce nine RVs per day by December, and a local company will have a hand in producing those vehicles.
White Pigeon, Mich.-based Leland Engineering Inc., which supplies steel frames for Jayco’s Indiana operations, will partner with based K&T Steel Corp. of Twin Falls to produce the frames for the RVs made in Twin Falls.
Leland Engineering has worked with Jayco since the mid-1970s and Jayco approached the company when it was mulling its Western expansion, said Mike Doering, Leland Engineering’s general manager.
“Jayco wanted us to be their frame supplier,” Doering said. “It’s really important to us to continue that relationship.”
K&T Steel will lease one of its buildings to Leland Engineering to construct the frames, said Bill Koch, president of K&T Steel. K&T Steel employees then will paint the steel frames for delivery to the Jayco plant.
Leland Engineering, which produces about $45 million in steel chassis for travel trailers yearly, will begin production with only two local hires, but plans to add up to about 10 workers over three years as Jayco grows and expands, Doering said.
Yoder said the K&T Steel-Leland Engineering deal could be the first in a number of Idaho-based supply partnerships for Jayco. The company is “very interested” in partnering with other Idaho companies to obtain parts, electrical and plumbing supplies, appliances and water and storage tanks needed to build its RVs, he said.
Initially, Jayco will receive most of its materials from suppliers close to its Indiana plant, but “the goal over 60 to 90 days is to bring supplies closer,” Yoder said. A number of potential suppliers in the area have stopped by the Twin Falls plant in recent days, he said, and Jayco is negotiating a deal with at least one of them.
“There are some good opportunities in the area,” Yoder said.