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Trail Wagons/Chinook RV, Yakima, Wash., is shopping for a buyer among its customer base, having failed in attempts to sell the company since January 2005, according to a report in the Yakima Herald Republic.
The company’s survival is on the line said office manager Carolyn McMurry in a March 7 letter to customers obtained by the Herald Republic. According to lawyers for debtors of the company, a foreclosure sale of the property has been set for March 24.
“We have a few other potential buyers, but if something doesn’t happen soon, I am not sure if Chinook can survive,” McMurry wrote in the letter. McMurry said the company, which stopped production last year, thought it had a committed buyer in late February but the deal fell through.
In contacting customers, McMurry said the intent “is to get the right individual/individuals to see the true value of the Chinook product and why it is so important to continue this legend.”
Trail Wagons owner, Yakima businessman and developer Gary Lukehart, has not responded to repeated requests for an interview with the newspaper. McMurry said she could not discuss the company’s past or prospects.
Trail Wagons once employed more than 162 people and grew with the help of loans from the city and county totaling nearly $3 million. The bulk of the money is owed to the city, which says it will recoup its investment if the property is sold.
In October, a court-appointed receiver, Inverness Partners of Bend, Ore., took control of the Chinook Business Park on behalf of a Chicago-based bank lender. According to court records, Trail Wagons stopped making payments in May 2005, defaulted in June and owes more than $3.6 million in principal plus interest and penalties.
The newspaper reported that Chinook RV customers say they feel left in the dark and don’t know whether their warranties for repair work will be honored.
George Poulsen of Arlington, Texas, who is vice president of membership for one of several Chinook camping clubs, said in an e-mail: “We’d like to see it once again establish itself as a viable ongoing business to serve us with one of the finest products ever developed for serious campers. Many have felt a bit violated in that no news was provided from the company prior to the receivership. … Clearly our faith has been jeopardized as well as our warranties.”