Elkhart, Ind.-based DEHCO Inc., a longtime distributor for the recreational vehicle and housing industries, is branching into a new sector by joining forces with a German company to supply insulated glass doors and freezer covers to grocers.

According to a report in the South Bend Tribune, DEHCO and REMIS GmbH of Cologne, Germany, have embarked on a joint venture to form REMIS America. The new company is expected to create 24 new jobs this year.

Four employees have already been hired, Matt Pletcher, managing director of REMIS America, said Tuesday (March 10). And there’s a good possibility of 50 more hires in 2010, he said, adding that “it could be significantly more than that.”

Essentially, the doors cover dairy cases that previously had been uncovered, saving energy.

Martin’s Super Markets chain has already installed one set of doors at its Heritage Square location in Mishawaka, Ind., and is expected to add more in its other stores, Pletcher said.

DEHCO has been around since 1956 and is a family owned business that has previously done most of its work in the RV, marine and housing business, mainly as a distributor. The company also manufactures thermoform bathtubs, shower surrounds, shower walls and other specific components for RVs.

The company has been doing work for about four years with REMIS, which supplied DEHCO with window treatment systems, skylights and shower doors among other lightweight RV components.

REMIS will be involved with manufacturing the refrigeration door systems in Elkhart and some distribution.

“They needed a good partner for their refrigeration business in North America and asked if we were interested,” said Pletcher. “We said ‘definitely.’ It’s about being in the right place at the right time.”