Cavco Finishes First Lodge at East Coast Plant
The first "Kamping Lodge" park model manufactured for Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has rolled off the production line at Fleetwood Homes in Rocky Mount, Va., according to The Franklin News-Post, Rocky Mount.
Cavco Industries Inc., the Arizona-based company that purchased Fleetwood's manufactured housing business in August 2009, is supplying KOA Inc. and its franchisees with park model Kamping Lodges.
The lodges also are being manufactured in Litchfield, Ariz., and in its Texas operation.
Tom Satterwhite, production manager of Fleetwood, said production in the Rocky Mount plant began the first of March.
KOA has 475 campgrounds throughout the United States.
"We sent our production people to Phoenix for training in February. Each group stayed a week. Tim Gage, vice president of speciality sales, and Dave Blank, general manager of the Litchfield plant, came here to help get us started," Satterwhite said.
The plant's approximately 85 employees took a break Thursday morning (March 18) to pose for a picture with the first lodge to roll off the production lines.
When Cavco announced the purchase of the Fleetwood plant in Rocky Mount, the company said that acquisition of the facility will enable Cavco to serve "hundreds of KOA franchises in the eastern section of the United States."
"The first unit is being sent to Allentown, Pa., but we will be shipping the lodges as far north as Herkimer, N.Y., as far south as Naples, Fla., and as far west as Townsend, Tenn.," the general manager said.
The Rocky Mount plant will save East Coast franchises money in shipping costs, Gage pointed out.
The first lodge produced is 28 feet long and more than 11 feet, wide. The lodges are shipped complete with furniture and bedding. It is set up to sleep four to six people.
Tongue-and-groove wood is used on the interior.
Satterwhite and Luis Figueroa, production manager, explained that lodges come with an option of a 5-foot-long front porch.
The different models are constructed using the same floorplan. There are two bunk beds and a bathroom at one end of the lodge and a larger bedroom at the other end.
There also are several other options including a loft with a ceiling fan.
Cavco has said that camping in a Kamping Lodge is like "roughing it" in a vacation home. Satterwhite explained that some of the models come without a stove as outdoor gas grills are used instead.
The company worked with KOA to develop a custom line of floorplans designed specifically for KOA customers.
While the lodges being produced in Rocky Mount are to fill KOA orders, Satterwhite said Cavco, in the future, will be selling to dealers who in turn will sale to the public.
Satterwhite said that since the local facility was purchased by Cavco, the plant has been closed for only five work days.
"Three of those were due to the big winter storms and the other two was because of lack of production work," Satterwhite said.
KOA franchisees purchased more than 200 Kamping Lodges from Cavco in 2009, company officials have said.
Cavco is a leader in manufactured homes, park models and camping cabins. It is a primary supplier to campground and RV park owners and developers for rental homes, lodges and resale models.