Immigrant family opens truck camper manufacturer in Elkhart County

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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - A new family-owned RV business is now open in Elkhart County.

Journey RV is the first Latino-owned truck camper manufacturer in the industry.

“So many people in the United States came here as immigrants and built their lives, built their businesses. It's what our country does, it's how we were founded,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said.

Jose Francisco Leal Osorno emigrated from Mexico and spent most of his career in the RV industry. It was heavy work, but Leal had a passion for it.

“I wrote on a small paper, I wrote small pictures,” Leal said. “This is my dream.”

Leal began to design campers, and that led to him building his own in the family's garage.

“I continued, I didn't listen to people when they said, 'Hey, you're crazy!'” Leal said.

“I think one of the reasons this is so special today is knowing that they started off in a garage, a small garage, and they're building their business from there,” Stutsman said.

The family business has four different models of truck campers and celebrated its opening at an open house on Friday morning.

“I know it's hard being a Hispanic in this community because you feel like you're underneath everyone, but you're really not,” said Jonathan Vela, Leal’s son-in-law and the vice president of the company. “You can get everything done, just like anyone else can.”

“My advice for everyone who comes from another country is that anything is possible if we work hard,” Leal said.

Stutsman encouraged aspiring and even existing business owners in Elkhart County to reach out to the Center for Healing and Hope, as well as the Elkhart and Goshen chambers of commerce for support.