Forest River, a full-line manufacturer of recreational and commercial vehicles, announced plans to expand its operations in Indiana, increasing the company’s manufacturing footprint in DeKalb and LaGrange counties. To support its growth, the company plans to create up to 369 new jobs by the end of 2023.
"With more than 80% of North America's RV production concentrated here, Indiana continues to grow its reputation as the RV Capital of the World thanks to companies such as Forest River," Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. "We're proud that Forest River continues to call Indiana home and grateful for the company’s commitment to growing its footprint and workforce in northeast Indiana.”
The Elkhart-based company will invest $3.5 million to expand its 20-acre manufacturing campus at 685 E. Main St. in Butler, constructing and equipping a 63,000-square-foot production facility and expanding its existing 30,000-square-foot building. The new facilities will allow Forest River to enhance production of the XLR Toy Hauler – the company’s newest line of toy hauler recreational vehicles (RV). Construction began this month, and the company expects the expansion to be complete by February 2021.
In LaGrange, Forest River is also planning a $3.5 million expansion at its facility at 1500 N. Detroit St., constructing and equipping a 95,000-square-foot building to increase manufacturing capacity of its Cherokee RV line. The company expects to break ground on the LaGrange expansion this October.
“We’re excited to continue expanding our operations in Indiana, which provides access to a talented workforce, strong RV manufacturing ecosystem and business-friendly environment,” said Mike Stump, project manager at Forest River. “With the support of the state and local communities in Butler and LaGrange, Forest River will continue to deliver high-quality products to customers around the world, while providing great career opportunities for Hoosiers here at home.”
Forest River, which employs 9,500 Hoosiers across its 10 Indiana locations, plans to add 120 new jobs in Butler and 249 new jobs in LaGrange. Forest River will begin hiring in January 2021 at both locations for manufacturing, operations, administrative and management positions. Interested applicants may apply online.
“We're happy that Forest River chose Butler for their additional expansion," said Butler Mayor Mike Hartman. "We have a very talented and versatile workforce in which they can pull from. We look forward to helping Forest River and the XLR Boost Division in growing their presence in Butler and northeast Indiana.”
Founded in 1996, Forest River is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and one of the largest RV manufacturers in the U.S. The company produces travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-up tent campers, park model trailers, destination trailers, cargo trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons and mobile restroom trailers.
Home to the RV Capital of the World, Indiana manufactures nearly 83% of all RVs in the United States and Canada. According to the RV Industry Association, the RV industry contributes more than $32.4 billion annually to Indiana’s economy, with more than 640 businesses supporting 126,140 jobs for Hoosiers.
“On behalf of the LaGrange Town Council, we're very excited and thankful to see Forest River’s continued growth and investment in our community," said Mark Eagleson, LaGrange Town Manager. "We look forward to working with them on their planned expansion."
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Forest River up to $1.33 million in conditional tax credits based on its Butler job creation plans and up to $2.8 million in conditional tax credits based on its LaGrange job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The city of Butler and city of LaGrange will consider additional incentives at the request of the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership and LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, respectively.