SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Despite talk of a labor shortage and an unemployment rate below 2% in March, economic growth continues in Elkhart County.
Grand Design RV is a good example.
Grand Design is building four new manufacturing and support plants at its Middlebury campus. The company plans to hire 700 new workers by the end of 2023, which would represent a 25% increase in its current workforce.
“The labor shortage is real, and there are many different industries that have a labor shortage, and staffing is difficult, and the cost of labor has increased “, Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson told 16 News Now. “But the market is adapting because goods are still in demand, and we’re adapting to that, and we’re continuing.”
Grand Design on Thursday held an expansion celebration at its new 300,000 square foot facility off CR 17 in Elkhart. Ground-breaking ceremonies marked the completion of the project.
The company won’t build anything at the Elkhart plant, with the possible exception of customer retention. The building is a service center.
“We’re in the service business, we happen to sell recreational vehicles,” Grand Design President and CEO Don Clark said. “We moved into this nearly 300,000 square foot facility that approximately doubles our service, parts and warranty capacity.”
Grand Design currently employs just over 2,700 people.
“There’s no such thing as the RV industry,” U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana’s 2nd District told the crowd. “Expansions, what you are doing today. Extra jobs you create and at the most prudent hour of a country’s life.
Grand Design CEO and Chairman Don Clark spoke to 16 News Now about the nature of the expansion.
“We decided we weren’t going to force our growth,” Clark said. “That our growth was going to depend on retail customer demand for our product. We have not forced any growth. We let customers dictate the popularity of our products. »
Grand Design is a good example of the bullish behavior going on in Elkhart County, where there are so many commercial construction projects going on that it’s hard to keep track.
“Frankly, I like to lose track, so the more people who are willing to innovate, the more I’m excited about it,” said Mayor Roberson. “I know five of them that are above 100,000 square feet that are ready to innovate so to speak.”
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