As a child, Julie Greenwald sewed her own doll clothes and loved to tinker with old radios and other small appliances. “I would take something apart and try to make it work, or turn it into something else,” she said.
The Register Guard, Eugene, Ore., reported that in the past few years, that resourcefulness has been quite an asset for Greenwald, now 56, and her husband, Jeff. When Oregon’s recreational vehicle industry tanked five years ago, the couple gathered up the pieces of their business, Interior Creations, which had supplied fabric and finished fabric products to the RV factories, and used them, quite literally, to create something new.
The RV industry was once Lane County’s second-largest industry. But, in 2007, when the recession hit, many consumers stopped buying high-ticket luxury items. In 2009, Junction City-based RV manufacturers Country Coach and Coburg-based Monaco Coach declared bankruptcy. Monaco was bought later in 2009 by Navistar International, which moved most of the jobs to Indiana. All told, Lane County’s RV industry has lost 3,200 jobs since 2007.
The decline of the RV industry was a heavy blow to Junction City, the RV epicenter. But rather than giving up, many of the people who were suppliers to, or employees of, the once bustling RV factories have reinvented themselves.
To read the entire article in the Register Guard click here.