It makes small sense come rewrite a company"s history when it"s been done already. The following was taken native the website http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/jayco-inc-history/ and also provides a very detailed account of Jayco. The file is fine written and also full of in-depth information. I"ll add to it later as necessary for this website.
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Jayco, Inc. Is a leading manufacturer the recreation vehicles (RVs), including travel trailers, truck campers, and also motorhomes, and is the 2nd largest producer the towable RVs in the world. The company also performs van conversions and also is active in Australia v an affiliated company, Jayco Caravan Manufacturing, Inc. Jayco flourished rapidly throughout the so late 1980s and also early 1990s, more than tripling in size.
Jayco is the progeny the inventor and also entrepreneur Lloyd J. Bontrager. Bontrager was working for a recreational auto manufacturer in north Indiana in the mid-1960s. The burgeoning RV industry was farming rapidly at the moment as America"s baby-boom households took come the highways through campers in tow. The fix up Bontrager had made necessary contributions to his employer, including the advancement of new camping trailers and the production of the company"s sewing department. He had also collection up and managed one RV production plant for the company. Importantly, Bontrager created a lifter device for fold-down camping trailers the made the campers much less complicated to pop up and close.
Despite his success at the company, Bontrager to be frustrated. He thought that the could construct a far better trailer if offered the flexibility to carry out so by his employer. In ~ the urging the his wife, Bertha, Lloyd made decision to strike out on his own. He began experimenting with new fold-down trailer designs at his family farm in the north Indiana town of Middlebury. Working out of two chicken houses and also a barn, Bontrager controlled to develop and also patent a lifter device for fold-down trailers that was much simpler to usage than any type of other mechanism on the market. That quit his job late in 1967 and also started his very own company, Jayco Inc., a surname he derived from his own center name. Bontrager was joined in the endeavor by 2 partners: Clarence Lambright, that was put in fee of purchasing, and also Bud Copsey, an investor. Bertha Bontrager did the bookkeeping, and also Lloyd"s sons facilitated design and also production.
Bontrager hired Glen Riegsecker at an early stage in 1968 together his an initial salaried employee at a fairy of $2 every hour. Riegsecker helped to change the barn and chicken residences into assembly-line RV manufacturing facilities. In those buildings, the Bontragers arisen three prototype campers; the JayEagle, JayHawk, and JayRobin. Orders started rolling in because that the fix up fold-down campers, which can be traction behind a vehicle and easily popped up in ~ a campsite. The fledgling company managed to sell, generally through regional dealers, 132 fold-down campers in its an initial year that operation. Through the finish of 1968 the firm had a work force of 15 and was beginning to outgrow its farm manufacturing plant.
Early in 1969 Bontrager rental his neighbor, Allen Yoder, Jr., to end up being the company"s nationwide sales manager. Yoder was working as a mortgage lender in ~ a local financial institution at the time yet was enthused about the opportunity to join the farming Jayco. V Yoder exploiting the spiraling nationwide need for campers, Jayco"s calculation soared throughout 1969 and 1970. Jayco left its farm factory in 1969 and also moved come a newly created plant nearby. Then, in 1970, the company added another plant in Harper, Kansas, to offer Jayco"s rise customer basic in the western united States. Incredibly, Jayco shipped an ext than 2,000 of its easy-to-use, high-quality, fold-down campers in 1970 to both U.S. And also Canadian dealers. To store workers inspired, Lloyd and also Bertha promised an all-you-can-eat chicken dinner because that the entire staff every time that the company met its production quotas; that initiative gave bear to the annual agency family picnic, replete v food, games, and a greased pig contest.
Besides its effective fold-down camper line, Jayco also experimented with various other projects during its first couple of years. Among them to be the short-lived Camp-n-Cruise, a fold-down layout camper developed on a pontoon boat. A an ext successful development was the JayThrush, an extension to the Jay product line and the biggest Jayco camper. Subsequently, Jayco presented the hefty JayKing, which was the very first fold-down camper ever to sell full-height countertops and a three-cubic-foot refrigerator.
Just as important to the company"s success together its brand-new products, however, to be its management style. Bontrager inserted a special emphasis on developing good relations with his dealers, and also even began inviting them to the company"s picnics. He additionally believed that all of the employees have to work along with the trust and respect mutual by a family.
Jayco bought out an additional camper manufacturer in 1971, which assisted it to produce 3,500 campers that year. Jayco"s sales continued to increase in 1972 and also 1973. Meanwhile, the energetic Bontrager became involved in other pursuits. He came to be an avid pilot, for example, and also was hospitalized for number of months following a almost fatal crash. Prior to the crash, the Bontragers ventured come Australia to fulfill a friend, Charles Motely, who had actually started one RV company there. Castle struck a resolve Motley that lead to a partnership lasting into the 1990s. Within a year Jayco was shipping materials to Motley"s tree in Australia. If Bontrager was in the hospital, moreover, Yoder and other Jayco employees occurred the Sportster, a slide-in camper designed come fit a pick-up truck bed. Also in 1972, Jayco bought the Pioneer Boat firm and began manufacturing fishing boats.
Among Jayco"s many successful assets during the beforehand 1970s to be the JayWren take trip trailer, its very first camper that was not a fold-down. The trailer was distinctive in that it was just seven feet high--small sufficient to fit in a conventional garage--yet still permitted plenty the head room because that the mean consumer. As with other Jayco products, Lloyd Bontrager played an essential role in the hands-on breakthrough of the JayWren. The advent of the JayWren, an unified with fat sales profit for other Jayco products, pushed the company"s shipping to $11 million throughout 1972. Jayco lugged out its very first mini-motorhome early on in 1973 and later that year presented the first fold-down camper with twin axles. Jayco likewise expanded into Canada when it purchased Ontario-based Aero leisure Products. By the end of 1973 Jayco was supplying a network that 235 dealers in Canada and also the joined States.
Jayco"s success during the late 1960s and early 1970s was largely a an outcome of its monitoring philosophy, which promoted innovation, quality, and also service. Yet it was also a corollary of the red-hot north American RV fad, which result in yearly RV sales of more than 500,000 yearly by 1993. Thus, once the energy situations of the mid-1970s dawned, Jayco and many other RV manufacturers suffered. Indeed, through 1974 the U.S. RV market was shipping little much more than half the number systems ordered one year earlier. Jayco was forced to shutter that Kansas and also Canadian plants and also to temporarily discontinue production of minimotorhomes. Work pressure reductions and cost-cutting measures were spread as part of an initiative to save the firm afloat.
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As they would in future recessions, Jayco managers refused to recognize the power crunch as a setback. Instead, they provided the slowdown together an chance to diversify right into other markets. Jayco raised its boat-building activity, because that example, and also built and also sold some experimental products. But the firm also ongoing to invent brand-new fold-down camper products. The started selling the Flipper in 1975, for example, which was successfully a sideways (vertical) fold-down, designed come be pulled behind subcompact cars; the product failed to get acceptance in the marketplace, however, and also was discontinued in 1976. Jayco likewise started building campers for full-size truck beds, i beg your pardon would an especially appeal to the searching market.
The energy crunch subsided in 1977 and also 1978, and also Jayco"s earnings climbed ago to early 1970s levels. Jayco resumed the to produce of mini-motorhomes, and new production facilities were included to enable Jayco to develop its very own cushions, drapes, seats, tents, and also other parts and also accessories because that its campers. Lloyd Bontrager"s son, Wilbur, started assuming a greater leadership function in the agency during the period. Favor his father, the made contributions to product design. In 1977, because that instance, he helped develop a domed roof for fold-down campers the would melted water and proved more powerful than conventional roofs. He likewise helped to construct overhead cabinets because that campers.
The respite native the mid-1970s downturn to be fleeting. A second energy crunch struggle the RV industry in 1979 and through the early on 1980s. Complete industry shipments plunged to a ten-year low of simply 181,400. Jayco"s shipments plummeted by about 50 percent and also many of its competitors threw in the towel. Jayco itself exited some of its markets, including the mini-motorhome segment. It had the ability to survive, though, by focusing on its classic core organization of fold-down trailers. In that part of the industry, Jayco managed to an increase its status during the late 1970s to become the 3rd largest manufacturer of fold-downs in the country. Jayco likewise managed to obtain by penetrating the European sector in a partnership through British-based Conway Campers, which developed the tent-like camping product called the Conway cottage Camper. Importantly, Jayco developed a heat of light-weight economic situation travel trailers--the Featherlite I and also II--that to be designed with fuel effectiveness in mind.
Jayco to be rewarded after the early 1980s slowdown by rise RV markets and significantly reduced industry competition. Jayco came to be determined come capitalize top top the recovery by becoming more marketing-oriented with efforts to learn exactly what client wanted. To that end, Jayco presented a new line of travel and also fold-down campers targeted at the budget-conscious consumer. This campers were described as the "J" heat (and, later, the Jay Series). Jayco additionally innovated brand-new products, some of which ultimately failed, consisting of a four-wheeled travel trailer that resembled a motorhome without a cab, and the JayTiki fold-down camper native which part of the life area flipped the end of the trailer and onto the ground. Finally, Jayco started to cull customer loyalty during the mid-1980s through its "Safari Club" because that Jayco RV owners.
By 1985 Jayco had not only left the recession behind however was enjoying its greatest expansion spurt ever. Indeed, sales that Jayco"s diversity product line to be skyrocketing throughout north America. Unfortunately, the optimism that permeated the company"s work pressure was quelled by a catastrophic accident. On Easter Sunday of that year, Lloyd Bontrager, young Wendell and Marcus, and a study and advance worker called Nelson Hershberger were eliminated when the aircraft Lloyd was piloting went down in a storm. Bontrager"s wishes for Jayco were summed increase in a letter he handle to employees shortly before his death: "Here at Jayco we try to carry out a pleasant Christian setting where we have the right to all job-related together in harmony. We believe we room all God"s children, and also as such we deserve common respect, honor, and also fair treatment. This is as true because that our dealers and customers together it is for those of us who occupational in the workplaces or the manufacturing plants."
One month after ~ Bontrager"s death, Jayco"s board appointed Al Yoder, Jr., to offer as chairman of the tho privately held company; Bertha Bontrager became chairman that the board. The 57-year-old Yoder had actually been a an essential contributor come Jayco due to the fact that he joined the company in 1969. He was also an extremely active as a leader in major RV market associations and had assisted to construct the very first television program specialized entirely come the RV lifestyle. Jayco continued to prosper. In fact, its growth pace quickened for a variety of reasons. Amongst other patterns benefiting the industry, fuel prices were low, infant boomers were beginning to to buy campers to take it their youngsters camping, and outdoor activities were becoming more popular.
As need increased, Jayco"s financial performance improved. Those benefit were mainly the result of initiatives pushed through Yoder. For example, Yoder commenced an aggressive drive to boost quality, which had informing workers about all other phases of manufacturing with which castle were not personally involved. He additionally oversaw the finish redesign of many Jayco assets to appeal an ext to baby-boom consumers. In addition, Jayco launched a lauded advertising project that made use of artwork styled ~ Norman Rockwell"s paintings. Jayco also introduced several brand-new products, consisting of a big trailer that sported a stand-up bedroom and also a centralized front end.
Jayco"s sales boomed throughout the mid-1980s. Indeed, by 1987--Jayco"s 20th anniversary--the company was the fourth largest manufacturer of towable RVs in the joined States. As well as its core fold-down, take trip trailers, and also motorhomes, Jayco available van conversions and pop-up and also hardwall truck campers. Those commodities were marketed through a network that 260 dealers in every state (except Hawaii), many Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico, and Japan. By the time, the Jayco "family" had actually grown to more than 600 employees. During the 1980s, moreover, Jayco realized unmatched growth. The variety of units shipped bolted come a high that 223,000 in 1988 together the company"s work force surpassed 700 and also the dealer network swelled to about 300.
The RV market suffered from one more downturn throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, though it was no as serious as ahead slowdowns. Again, Yoder refuse to acknowledge the downturn as a negative, claiming the a recession to be a mind set that was worsened by the media populated on it and by businesses that were scared to relocate forward. Sustaining that assertion, in 1990, Yoder, in the midst of the U.S. Recession, initiated a two-stage development program. Adhering to that plan, Jayco purchased new manufacturing infrastructure in Middlebury and surrounding LaGrange. That effort practically doubled the company"s full acreage to an ext than 100, around 500,000 square feet of i m sorry was extended by manufacturing facilities. As manufacturing capacity increased, the recession waned. Indeed, after record $142 million in sales in 1992, Jayco"s profits rose 42 percent in 1993 come $202 million.
In April 1993 the 65-year-old Yoder announced his retirement from Jayco. After 25 year of business he was stepping down to pursue other interests; he was very active in the Mennonite Church, for example, and was additionally involved in other business interests including a small furniture company. Yoder was prospered as president by young name G. Lambright, when Wilbur Bontrager stayed at the company as chairman the the board. Jayco continued to post healthy benefit in 1994. By 1995, in fact, Jayco"s work force had grown come 1,300 and also Jayco had come to be the 2nd largest manufacturer that towable assets in the nation.