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Towable builder Sun Valley Inc. broke ground Wednesday (Jan. 25) on a 20-acre tract of land in Howe, Ind., for construction of two new plants that will house the company’s administrative and production operations.
The new project, located along the Indiana Toll Road, will offer 140,000 square feet under roof and be completed by the end of August. The firm initially plans to add 75 new jobs, primarily hourly production positions, to its current work force of 75-100 people.
Mark Romanetz, president of Sun Valley, said the builder had simply outgrown its current location in Elkhart, Ind., where it was leasing three older buildings totaling around 100,000 square feet.
“This is a big step for the company, but it’s a necessary step,” Romanetz said, noting Sun Valley had recently leased an additional 20,000-square-foot facility for production of the Rattler sport utility travel trailer (SURV) line introduced at last year’s Louisville Show. “This allows us to consolidate all our lines to improve efficiency, and our turn-around times to dealers.”
The two plants will each contain two production lines while one of the facilities will be equipped with lamination operations. The project, overseen by Goshen, Ind-based Nuway Construction, also will include a two-story office building for the company’s corporate offices.
Romanetz said the decision to move from Elkhart to nearby LaGrange County was based on availability of land and easy access to the Toll Road.
“This purchase gives us room to grow,” he said, noting the company was currently running 60-70 units a week. “Last year, we grew 15% from 2004, when we moved to 19th in terms of travel trailer market share. Capacity-wise, we’re looking to triple that in 2006.”
In addition to Rattler, Sun Valley produces the Road Runner and X-Treme travel trailer and fifth-wheel lines along with Sun-Lite and Apache truck campers. Sun Valley was established in 2000 when Romanetz and partner Dan Morrison purchased the assets of Sun-Lite Inc., Bristol, Ind.