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Park-model manufacturers were upbeat about the sector’s prospects for 2005 following heavy traffic at the 42nd Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky., according to the Elkhart Truth.
“I am very confident we will have an even greater year next year than this, and this year was a phenomenal year,” said Tim Howard, president and founder of industry leader Breckenridge, a Thor company based in Napanee, Ind.
Through Sept. 30, Breckenridge owned 24.9 percent of the retail business, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
Breckenridge currently employs 160 workers who produce 11 units a day on two lines. Howard reported that production is near capacity, prompting plans for an expansion in the next 12 months.
“We’ll spend between $2 million and $3 million to expand in hopes of doubling capacity,” he said. He’ll also double his workforce to meet the expected demand.
Like all park-model builders displaying at the show, Howard was limited to just 1,000 square feet of exhibit space, which meant room for two units.
Ernie Yoder, owner of Woodland Park of Middlebury, Ind., echoed Howard’s sentiment about the Louisville show.
“It was an excellent show. The coming year will be very strong,” he predicted, noting that his company also was planning for expansion in the coming year.
Olin Wenrick, president of Trophy Homes of Elkhart, Ind., also reported solid business from the show, calling it “excellent and the best in years. I think all of us are very pleased.”
In response to the industry’s growth, the Truth reported that Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif., and Cavco Industries Inc., Phoenix, Ariz., are looking to locate plants in the East. Napannee, Ind.-based Fairmont Homes also confirmed it would enter the park-model arena next year.
Jeff Pressinell, national sales manager for Dutch Park Homes in Goshen, Ind., said that with the industry growth anticipated for the next decade, there would be plenty of business to support new entries into the marketplace.