Fleetwood Names Indiana New Headquarters, Revamps Web Site
In July 2009, Fleetwood Enterprises’ motorhome division and Goldshield Fiberglass operation were purchased by private-equity firm American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV LP. On August 19, 2009, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from Fleetwood RV Inc. to celebrate the company’s plant reopening in Decatur, Indiana. Operations at former California and Pennsylvania plants are being centralized in this one location.
Initial plans for Fleetwood RV Inc. call for $7.4 million in new investment toward building improvements, machinery and equipment, and retooling. In addition, the company will relocate $8 million in equipment from its out-of-state operations. The newly established company already has recalled more than 600 employees and plans to create an additional 300 jobs at its Decatur headquarters by 2012.
“The decision to establish our company headquarters in Decatur was twofold,” said John Draheim, president of Fleetwood RV. “First, and most importantly, was the high-caliber workforce in the area, and the second was the cooperation from the state and city to develop a plan that would be best for the company, the local community, and the RV industry as a whole.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Fleetwood RV up to $9 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The Decatur City Council approved additional property tax abatement at the request of the Adams County Economic Development Corporation.
Along with the opening of the Decatur plant, the company also launched a new consumer Web site: www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Features of the new site include a video gallery featuring Stew Oleson from the “RVToday” TV show; a link to download product brochures; a “Compare Features” tool that allows visitors to make side-by-side product comparisons; “My Fleetwood,” a function that allows customers to save and compare their favorite floor plans for easy reference; a payment calculator; a dealer locater; an online merchandise store; and a newsroom featuring product news and images.
For more information about Fleetwood RV Inc., call (800) 322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.
Everglades Isle Opens Resort-Style Community
The new Everglades Isle Type A motor coach resort, located along the Barron River in Everglades City, Florida, offers vacationers and seasonal residents a doorway to adventure in Everglades National Park and the 10,000 Islands.
The resort has 61 motor coach sites. More than half of them are located directly on the water, providing deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico. Each site includes a boat slip, and 12 additional live-aboard wet slips are available for lease or purchase.
A social membership comes with the purchase of a coach site and includes full use of the resort’s amenities, including access to the 8,500-square-foot Lighthouse Club. The facility includes a restaurant/lounge, a resort-style pool, a spa and sun deck, a movie theater, a fitness center, spa treatment salons, and a billiards room. All club and resort amenities are private and available for use by members only.
Special, limited-time incentives on site and wet slip purchases, as well as site rentals are now being offered during the resort’s grand opening. New owner incentives may include upgrades such as custom brick pavers, decks, or a custom chickee hut built by local Miccosukee Indians.
Everglades Isle features a full service “valet” marina with call-ahead service. On-site marina services include discounted fuel, a ships store, a fish cleaning station, and pump-out facilities. In addition, a network of experienced local fishing guides and captains are available on request. Dry dock storage will be available in Phase II of the development.
Coach sites are also available as rentals, and reservations are now being accepted for the fall and winter of 2009 and 2010. Site owners can choose to place their site in the rental program when they are not using it for themselves.
For more information about Everglades Isle, visit www.evergladesisle.com or call (239) 695-2600.
National Parks Visitor Numbers Increase In 2009
United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that America’s national parks have seen more visitors during the first half of 2009 than during that period a year earlier, according to visitation information collected by the National Park Service (NPS).
Through the first six months of 2009, national park units experienced 127,728,898 visits, an increase of nearly 4.5 million visits compared to the same period in 2008. In June alone, visitation to national parks increased by more than 718,000 visits when compared to June 2008.
“America’s national parks and public lands provide affordable and accessible recreational opportunities from coast to coast,” said Secretary Salazar. “It is great to see so many Americans, including the First Family, take advantage of the incredible natural, cultural, and historic resources that we have here at home. Especially when times are tough, our parks and public lands refuel the spirit and help energize local economies.”
According to information provided by the NPS, national park units serve as primary economic generators in local communities across America. Each year, park visitors spend $11 billion in local economies, supporting 213,000 jobs in gateway communities. In addition, the NPS has nearly 600 concessioners at 120 different sites, employing more than 25,000 people.
To stimulate additional economic activity and to protect the national parks for future generations, the Department of the Interior is investing $750 million in nearly 800 projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Projects will preserve and protect national icons and historic landscapes, improve energy efficiency and renewable energy use, remediate abandoned mine lands, and provide $15 million in grants to protect and restore buildings at historically black colleges and universities. Additional funding through the Federal Highway Administration will improve park roads for millions of visitors.
To find out more about the many parks, monuments, historic sites, and other properties operating under the National Park Service, visit www.nps.gov.
RV Industry Celebrates 100 Years Of Exploration And Innovation
A century ago, the popularization of the automobile, improved roads, and America’s passion for exploration gave rise to mass-produced manufactured recreation vehicles, leading to the birth of the RV industry. In 2010, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the RV industry will mark this centennial with an array of special activities celebrating the 100-year journey of a uniquely American product.
“Think about how far we’ve come in the past 100 years in terms of technology, yet the reasons to RV remain the same,” said RVIA president Richard Coon. “RVing has been able to thrive and grow because people still enjoy the freedom that it provides.”
The roots of RVing are as old as pioneers and covered wagons. But 1910 is the year that America’s leading RV historians cite as the beginning of what has become the modern RV industry.
“The first motorized campers were built in 1910,” said David Woodworth, a pre-eminent collector of early RVs and RV camping memorabilia. “Before then, people camped in private railcars that were pulled to sidings along train routes. The year 1910 brought a new freedom to people who didn’t want to be limited by the rail system. RVs allowed them to go where they wanted, when they wanted.”
Al Hesselbart, archivist for the RV/MH Heritage Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, also pinpoints 1910 as the birth of the RV industry. “Camping has been around for centuries, but 1910 is when the first auto-related camping vehicles were built for commercial sale.”
Known as “auto campers” or “camping trailers” a century ago, these vehicles were a forerunner of today’s modern RVs.
To mark the centennial, RVIA is creating a special 100th anniversary logo and commemorative decal for those in the industry to use. RVIA also is planning an RV caravan led by Mr. Woodworth with one of his early RVs, along with other celebration and promotion ideas for dealers, campgrounds, clubs, and shows to use on their own.