Posts Tagged ‘Elkhart County’

Forest River Owners Group logoAnyone who thought that the best days for America’s brand-name RV clubs might be in the rear-view mirror ought to have stopped by the 2nd Annual Forest River Owners Group (FROG) International Rally last week (Aug. 4-10) at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind.

The place was cooking – literally and figuratively – as some 730 members of one of the nation’s youngest and fastest growing RV owner organizations converged in 354 towable and motorized units. The popular fairgrounds are located in close proximity to Elkhart County’s RV-building hub and within easy driving range of several divisional facilities operated by Forest River Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary and the nation’s second-ranking RV builder.

While those attendance numbers may not have set rally records, they take on a special meaning when considering that the club was launched – at the suggestion of Forest River President & CEO Pete Liegl – less than two years ago.

“It was an extremely successful week all the way around,” reported FROG Executive Bob Byrne on Friday night (Aug. 9) as he prepared for the rally’s finale concert. That’s pretty much the way things have gone since Day One for the upstart FROG Club.

“It’s been unbelievably rapid growth,” exclaimed Forest River General Manager Doug Gaeddert, current chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board of directors, “I mean zero to 120 mph in about four seconds.”

“We’re really excited,” said Byrne, who, with support from his wife, Cindy, and a host of volunteers oversees the club’s rallies and other activities as a full-time Forest River staff member. “We’re just a little over a year and a half old and, as of last week, our membership had rolled over the 20,000 family member mark already. Last year we had our first rally here in Elkhart. We had 208 units, so we’re up about 70% over that this year, and we’re just really excited about that number.”

 

PNC Bank out of Indianapolis filed suit Oct. 18 to take possession of Carriage, a well-respected RV builder that owes the bank more than $5 million. The suit came a day after 180 Carriage workers were furloughed at the financially troubled firm.

The bank is demanding immediate payment of overdue loans from the bank, which maintains in the suit in Elkhart County Superior Court I that Carriage owner Glenn Cushman has been in default of his financial obligations to PNC Bank from as far back as September of 2009, requiring the issuance of several loan extensions, The Goshen News reports.

A spokesmen for Carriage, which manufactures the Cabo, Cameo, Carri-Lite and Royals International towable RV lines at its rural Elkhart County complex, feel they haven’t gotten a fair shake from a mega-bank that isn’t really interested in a workable plan and the general welfare of one small Hoosier town.

“We’ve got a bunch of units sitting off line, short parts,” he added, “and everything we’ve got in the system right now is retail sold to be delivered to customers. I mean, that’s what’s crazy.”

In a, Oct. 22 report in  The Goshen (Ind.) News the  bank may be open to a deal to turn the company around, according to a Carriage consultant quoted in the front-page article.

“We got to have our meeting with the bank,” Rick Van Es, a business turnaround consultant, said Friday afternoon. “I think we are on a positive track right now.”

Van Es said there is still a lot of work to do on working out a restructuring of the company that the bank will agree to.

And Van Es admits the Millersburg community is very worried about the possibility of losing a traditional company and the 200 jobs there.

Full Story…

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