Forest River ships first unit from Butler plant
By Jeff Jones | KPC Media - The Butler Bulletin
Forest River Inc.’s Butler facility has produced and shipped the first recreational vehicle from its new facility at the former Evans Equipment truck terminal, 685 E. Main St., the company announced recently.
The XLR toy hauler was produced and shipped in December, according to Forest River general manager Brent Stevens.
“We are currently building two units a day with 25 employees, and will be going to three per day soon,” Stevens said in an email.
In October, the Elkhart-based company was granted tax abatements by Butler’s Economic Development Commission and City Council with plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing building on the complex by the middle of 2018. Forest River expects to produce up to 15 units per day once the new building is ready.
Until the new building is finished, Forest River is using existing buildings on the Evans complex. The truck terminal had been vacant for several months after a successor company to Evans moved operations out of Butler.
“So far, our experience has been a very positive one, and the City of Butler and the economic development department in DeKalb county have been super helpful,” Stevens said. “They recognize that creating jobs for the people of DeKalb County is going to be big win for them and a big win for us as well, and most importantly the team members we hire.”
In addition to Butler, Forest River has facilities in Elkhart, Goshen, LaGrange, Ligonier, Middlebury and Topeka.
By 2019, Forest River expects to employ up to 125 people at the Butler facility. The XLR toy haulers are made in travel trailer and fifth-wheel formats.