Elkhart, Indiana is the heart of the Unites States “RV Country,” and is home to HL Enterprise, the premier manufacturer of park trailers, travel trailers, and 5th wheels. The company began in 1986, when industry experts Mel Hyman and Peggy Flager founded the company, but then decided to retire in 2006 and sold Evolve Capital. Evolve Capital pushed the company into financial ruin in 2011 and the two previous owners, along with a new partner, Randy Hoff, repurchased the assets and rights to the product name in order to again bring success to the company.
HL Enterprise has a strong customer-centric focus with the idea that “H L understands what you want…and our goal is to build your dreams.”
“Their park trailers are somewhat similar to the traditional Hy-Line product lines, but with many new upgrades, Hoff explained. “The triple slide trailers feature island kitchens, Corian countertops, thermopane patio doors, cherry wood cabinets and all-tinted windows. Most of what we’re doing now is dictated by the market,” Hoff said. “A lot of the interiors are more plush and there is more of a residential appeal in construction. We also went to a higher ceiling. It’s no longer a travel trailer (84-inch) ceiling. Now it’s a 96-inch ceiling.”
With 32 production line employees working out a 2 building, 35,000 square foot factory, this small business works hard to roll out 4 trailers daily are a retail price starting at $30,000. The new owners, who are actually the founders, are now working hard to bring the company back to the success that it once was.
“We’re doing a lot of damage control from the previous owners,” Hoff said, without elaborating. “We didn’t buy the liabilities, but we’re working with the dealer base and customers in trying to restore their confidence.”
Recently, the company has gone global with a dealer base in 40 states, along with Canada, England, and Australia; currently the company is also looking to create operations in China!
I found the three attached articles to be very interesting because it completely focused on moving the company back into the direction of their original goal. Creating a quality product that is desirable to the customers, while making an adequate profit. Yet the Evolve Capital did not follow through with this goal, and in turn failed.
Do you think that most ownership companies are truly knowledgeable about the products that they are producing, or are they just hungry to acquire and build capital? Also, how do you think the company evolves, no pun intended, when a new management team takes over and does not hold true to the original idea of the company or corporation? It appears that stories like this seem to repeat themselves constantly in business, including Dell, Starbucks, Apple, and so many others.
2 thoughts on ““Custom Building Your Dreams””
You asked a great question. I do not think that most employees or companies are aware of the quality of what they are producing. For instance, many people in an assembly line are not part of the important chain assembly. So the importance of what’s underneath, let’s see a Boeing 747, only the engineers know the true quality compared to the people who just put the seats in that plane.
I think that in order for a business to be truly successful, owners MUST be knowledgeable about the products they are producing. Being hungry to acquire and build capital is no longer enough to make a business successful; one must know the ins and outs of the business. The companies that you mentioned (Dell, Starbucks, Apple) have all had the CEO leave, the company become unsuccessful, and then the previous owner came back and made the company what it is today. It seems like this is the same story of HL Enterprise.
I don’t believe that a company evolves when a new management team takes over and does not hold true to the original idea of the company. Once a company is established and successful, there should be no reason to change what’s not broken. It’s a bad idea and will result in failure, as demonstrated by the companies that you mentioned.