Winnebago opens its newest plant today, in Charles City. Winnebago chairman and CEO Bruce Hertzke was there to parise the fourteen-and-a-half-million-dollar facility. It’s the biggest expension Winnebago’s ever done, including other factories built in Hampton and Lorimor. Hertzke says at least a hundred towns vied to get the new plant, and Charles City was chosen for factors like its proximity to other plants, good transportation and workforce. Hertzke says they’ll move some production to the new plant because there’s a better labor force around the new location than the original plant in Forest City. The Iowa-based maker of recreational vehicles did see a slump earlier this year. Hertzke says when war broke out, gas prices rose and consumer confidence was shaken and the plant went to four-day workweeks, but they’re back to fulltime now and seeing orders pick up so he’s optimistic about the future. Hertzke says Winnebago hasn’t had layoffs in twelve years and he doesn’t want to start now. The new 218-thousand-square-foot Charles City plant expands Winnebago’s capacity by thirty-percent.The “campus” with has 300 workers now, but he expects another 200 to be added in the next year or two. Hertzke says one thing that has improved the R-V market this year is that fewer people want to take vacations overseas, or travel by plane or boat.
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