Hiring reaches 100 at upstart RV company

100 people have now been hired by an upstart R.V. company in Elkhart County, which plans to add 100 more by the end of this year.

The folks at Great Design R.V. today were in the mood to celebrate. “We have our 100th employee, we just hired this week and it’s been 100 days since we’ve been producing, basically, on line,” said Bill Tenech, Great Design R.V. co-owner. “We believe in hot products and we grew up, it’s in our DNA to build hot products, and our new product, our first product, the Solitude that we’re showcasing today is doing extremely well in the marketplace at retail.”

The new R.V. builders on the block in Elkhart County are not new to those in the know.

All three co-owners of Great Design R.V. used to be key players in making Keystone the largest R.V. maker in the land.

“We were all presidents of our divisions,” said Bill Fenech. “It was time to do something on our own, no regrets on where we left, but it was time for something new.”

Co-owner Don Clark agrees. “Most of the major R.V. dealers, because of our past history, 25 plus years, and our relationships, they jumped on board early.”

Right now, Grand Design R.V. is only building one model (The Solitude) at its plant near Middlebury, but it plans to add a second unit in June. “By the end of this year, we’ll be closer with the two lines combined, closer to 200 plus (employees)” said Don Clark.

“We’ll be large; large will come, but we can’t be the largest, nor I think should we,” added Bill Tenech.

Grand Design will move at its own pace in carrying out plans to eventually produce six separate models at its sprawling three plant complex near Middlebury.

Grand Design represents a huge vote of confidence in the long term viability of the R.V. industry on the part of three people who know a lot about it.

“We're very confident; in fact, we invested a lot of money into this business and into the R.V. industry. We purchased 67 acres, we have close to 500-thousand feet of manufacturing space and we're all in, and we haven't looked back we're very, very excited,” said Don Clark.

Grand Design promises to be a different kind of R.V. company in terms of being loyal to its dealers.

“The other companies out there primarily they’ll build many, many brands in a market segment so they’ll have two or three, maybe four brands competing for the same retail customer,” said Bill Fenech. “You know, that strategy made sense when there were a lot of dealers and the market was larger.”

Grand Design will make just one model in each market segment and select one dealer in each retail market to carry its products.

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