A new RV manufacturer, Riverside Travel Trailers Inc., has begun operations in the former Adventure Manufacturing Inc. (formally Timberland)  factory in Peru, Ind., last utilized for travel trailer production in January.

Two former Adventure executives — President Mark Gerber and Vice President Kean MacOwan — will direct the new company as vice president of finance and sales and vice president of operations, respectively.

Ken Licklider, owner of Vohne Liche Kennels, an internationally known breeder of trained dogs in nearby Denver, Ind., is the new company’s president.

”Through the liquidation process, I talked to a lot of local business people and came across someone who has the heart and soul to fire the company up again,” said Gerber, who had been named receiver by a local bank to liquidate Adventure’s assets. “He (Licklider) feels that the hit the RV industry took this last winter is more of a blip on the radar rather than a change in the business.”

Gerber said he is in the process of contacting suppliers and dealers. ”It will take a couple of weeks to get the parts here that we will need to get into production,” Gerber said.

Wood-and-aluminum Riverside travel trailers in lengths of 30 to 36 feet with single large slideouts are expected to begin rolling off the production line by mid-July, said Gerber. 

Startup production will be 10 units a week at the 130,000-square-foot factory, which has the capacity to build 5,000 units a year.

”We will manage growth in proportion to what the market will give us,” said Gerber, who anticipates having 50 dealers within six months. ”Our business growth will mirror the improvement that is coming in the financial markets. By the time we get our volume up, the banks will be lending.”

The initial work force will be about 30 people, all former Adventure employees laid off when the company finished its production run in January. ”We will have a very motivated and well-trained workforce who will be building high quality units immediately,” Gerber said. ”The goal is to have a modest rate of production though the Louisville Show and then be able to kick it up in the spring.”