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Pilgrim International Inc., a manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels recently founded by RV industry legend Dave Hoefer, will begin production in Middlebury, Ind., on Tuesday (April 23).
Pilgrim employees will finish up the final touches on prototypes this week, said Hoefer, who launched the Dutchmen series of highly packaged, competitively priced towables in 1988.
Hoefer later sold Dutchmen to Thor Industries Inc. in 1992, a move that lifted Thor into the ranks of high-volume producers of towable RVs.
Hoefer remained as president of Thor’s Dutchmen and Four Winds International subsidiaries until 1995, when he reached a “separation agreement” with Thor.
Shortly thereafter, Hoefer founded Hart Housing Group, a producer of manufactured homes in Wakarusa, Ind. Hoefer remains as chairman of Hart Housing, but he is not involved in day-to-day decision making. “My total focus will be on Pilgrim,” he added.
Pilgrim will build aluminum frame/fiberglass exterior units, including some laminated fiberglass models. Hoefer said they will be 25- to 36-feet long and will be positioned at “mid-range with an upper low-end price.”
The new company is using the facilities west of Middlebury that were occupied for years by the Shasta subsidiary of Coachmen Industries Inc.
So far, Pilgrim has assembled a 60-member dealer body in the U.S.