Bob Martin

Bob Martin

Citing a shared philosophy on doing business and a longtime reputation for building quality product, Thor Industries Inc. President and CEO Bob Martin termed the company’s acquisition of K-Z Inc. as “a perfect addition” to its growing portfolio of manufacturers. In an announcement this morning (April 17), Thor disclosed it was acquiring the veteran Shipshewana-based towable builder for $53.4 million, effective May 1 (see previous story).

“K-Z is a company that’s always had a strong reputation for impeccable quality and as a morally and ethically strong company that does a good job with customer service,” Martin told RVBUSINESS.com. “Many aspects of K-Z are definitely perfect fits for the way that we want to do business. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and I’ve always admired K-Z. It’s always had a very strong brand name recognition.”

Martin noted that the process involved close examination of K-Z’s operations, which include 45-plus acres of real estate housing a corporate office, four production plants, and a service facility on U.S. 20 in Shipshewana. “We were very impressed when we went through their facilities and got to know some of their top managers – just the overall operation of K-Z,” Martin said.

Perhaps even more significant in Thor’s decision was K-Z’s “unbelievable workforce that’s very loyal to the company along with a committed dealer body.” Currently, K-Z’s employee count is around 330 workers.

“When you talk to a K-Z dealer, they are very loyal,” said Martin. “You never hear about problems with K-Z because they just do business the right way and take care of problems before they get any larger. There’s also the opportunity to pick up some dealers that we don’t currently do business with as we look across the dealer body.”

Martin stressed that he didn’t envision any major changes with regard to K-Z’s operations. “They run a great business, and for us I don’t see tremendous changes with our decentralized nature. You know, every company we have is run a little bit differently, and they’ve been very successful for many years.”

Martin left the door open regarding K-Z founder and CEO Daryl Zook’s continued involvement. “Really, I want to keep Daryl involved as long as Daryl wants to be involved,” he said. “For me, this is Daryl’s baby. It’s an unbelievable company that we need to learn about, and we need to learn from Daryl. So, for the immediate future, Daryl’s planning to stay on and help us integrate them into Thor.”