Archive for the ‘The story of Jayco as shown on Amish Stories.’ Category

A completed RV built with Amish craftsmanship. 


Middlebury, Indiana


Beautiful Middlebury’s countryside.

A finished Interior, notice the fireplace.

I’m sure a lot of you have maybe seen in newspaper articles or on other web sites about the Amish who work in various industries throughout the united states. I’ve seen the same things I’m sure, but what was usually missing were images of the Men/woman at work in those factories. That’s about to change with these images(top 8 pictures) sent to me by John Macdonald marketing service manager with RV maker Jayco. Before i continue lets look at the history of Jayco based in Middlebury Indiana  as told in their web site.
Jayco, Inc. was founded in 1968 by a man of strong faith and vision. The late Lloyd J. Bontrager, family man and inventor, felt he could build the world a better RV. He longed to create a company of his own, one that clearly reflected his ideals: a company where everyone would be treated as “family”. With encouragement from his wife Bertha, Lloyd started Jayco on their farm–in two chicken houses and a barn! He developed his own prototype camping trailer and a unique lifter system for fold-down campers, the basic design of which is patented and still in use today. By the end of 1968, his fledgling company of 15 employees had sold 132 fold-down camping trailers. Today, Jayco’s “family” of employees has grown to nearly 1,600 people, while more than 25,000 people join our “extended family” of customers each year.Well the history of Jayco is the good news, now unfortunately the RV industry has faced reduced demand for its products with a  reduction in its  labor force due to layoffs. According to Steven N. Nolt who has published many books on the Amish, In 2007, before the RV industry started to plummet, 53.3 percent of the heads of Amish households in the settlement did factory work, primarily making RVs and manufactured homes. I was not able to get an exact percentage of Amish and Mennonites working in the factory at Jayco, but figures that I’ve seen are approximately in the 70% range. So with that many plain folks working at Jayco those folks would feel it the most regarding any layoffs. Its interesting to note that only 17.4 percent of heads of households supported their families by farming. By 2007, that figure had dropped to 14.2 percent. I wanted to get a better idea of how the R.V market was right now, so i called Gayle Kline R.V center in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I talked with a salesman who told me that the market is still on the slow side, but it is picking up just a little  compared to the last few years. They seem to be selling more of the entry level models more than they used to, so folks are buying less extravagant R.Vs with less features. But they are buying so that is a very good thing at least, so how many laid-off workers who are being called back is unknown.This economy is the worst that i have ever seen in my lifetime, and I’m sure many readers would agree with me on that. Lets all hope for a better year with the employment situation picking up with more folks able to find jobs, because many lives are counting on this including Amish and non Amish alike. (story sources Jayco corporation)  (The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne In)  (Gayle Kline R.V center in Lancaster Pennsylvania) Richard from Amish Stories.

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