Lippert Components Inc. (LCI), an RV and manufactured housing supplier, already has a large presence in northern Indiana, but it’s still in a growth mode.
The South Bend Tribune reported that with about 4,000 employees in Indiana and 5,300 nationwide, Lippert Components already operates at 23 locations in Elkhart County and now one in South Bend. It is adding employees in both Goshen and South Bend, the latter at the former A.J. Wright building, which the company recently announced it will lease for the next 12 1/2 years.
What follows is an interview with Lippert:
Q.You plan to hire workers for the new South Bend operation this year. When does that start? Will there be a job fair?
A. The 180 jobs is the total commitment for the facility, (including Bimbo Bakeries’ logistic company, which is subletting the facility from Lippert). We are looking forward to doing our part to meet our commitment. We will immediately begin equipping the South Bend building and hiring employees for warehousing, distribution and light manufacturing operations.
Q.What were some of the main reasons you chose the South Bend location and decided to further expand in the area?
A. We believe the South Bend facility will allow us to better serve our customers, both inside and outside of Elkhart County. The facility is a great facility — it’s truly a beautiful building and provides great space for warehousing and light manufacturing. A larger facility such as this one allows us to consolidate operations to improve efficiency and have room for future growth. Additionally, expanding into South Bend allows us to diversify our work force and tap into a new pool of talent. When the RV industry gets very busy like it is now, every RV manufacturer, as well as other employers benefiting from the improved economy, in Elkhart County taps into a relatively small work force.
Q. Do you think the industry can sustain its current growth pattern? And why?
A. The RV industry has performed quite well over the past few years. Based on solid retail sales in 2013 and industry expectations for 2014, we believe that the RV industry is strong. Many of our RV customers are introducing new product lines and offering new features on existing lines, as well as increasing production capacity to meet projected industrywide growth for 2014 and beyond. While nothing is certain, we have no reason to believe that the industry will not continue to do well in the coming years. As an industry, we know that RV products are appealing to more people in different demographics than ever before. The popularity of traveling in RVs to NASCAR and other sporting events, more family-oriented domestic vacations, and using RVs as second homes, appear to motivate consumer demand for RVs. It’s not just the baby boom generation that’s buying RVs; RVs are also appealing to younger and younger buyers every year.”
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