Production could resume in about a month at Travel Lite RV as the company emerges from a restructuring, down several dozen employees and with a renewed focus on its core specialties, according to a report today (Sept. 19) by the Goshen News.
Dustin Johns, owner and president of the now Syracuse, Ind.-based Travel Lite, said a hard look was needed to re-evaluate plans and make cuts while the recreational vehicle industry faces a downturn.
“We needed to take a step back from our growth plan and business model and say, “OK, what’s the realistic expectations moving forward,’” Johns said.
Following the restructuring that apparently started earlier in the summer, Johns estimated production could re-start Oct. 21. Plans include centering more on Travel Lite’s lines of truck campers and ultralight travel trailers.
However, the company will get back to work with an overall loss of about 70 jobs.
“We’re definitely going to have less employees than we did before at our peak, but we’re still going to have more employees than we did a year ago,” Johns said.
Travel Lite recently completed an expansion, moving its headquarters to Syracuse from New Paris, where the company still has a factory. A new plant was built at the Syracuse 6 & 13 Technology and Industrial Park, as well as three other buildings to handle tasks like service and warranty, and research and development.
Johns committed to the $5.2 million project in the spring of 2017 while the RV industry was peaking, he said. But by around January, when the company was able to start producing its first units from the new location, the industry was showing signs of slowing.
Johns described his business plan from the past five years as “working like a top,” and even exceeding expectations. But he said while facing a downturn, he needed to retool the plan to meet the next few years.
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