DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) A major recreational vehicle builder has planned to renovate its Decatur facility to create a modern welcome center.
Allied Recreation Group, the manufacturer of Fleetwood RV, American Coach, Holiday Rambler, and Monaco motorhomes, on Thursday announced plans to makeover its facility at 1420 Patterson St. and turn it into a cutting-edge owner and visitor welcome center.
“We are excited about this substantial investment in service operations and the community because Decatur has been home to our family of brands in a number of capacities for more than 30 years,” declared Jim Jacobs, president of Allied Recreation Group. “And for nearly as many years, our Service Facility has catered to the post-retail maintenance and service needs of our owners and visitors by providing a location that houses state-of-the-art equipment and RVIA certified and master-certified technicians. The new facility will now complement our service abilities and talent with comfort and amenities that will improve our owners and visitors’ overall service experience.”
Allied officials on Thursday said the plan is to give the interior and exterior of the building an aesthetic facelift.
“We felt like the facility we have today is good, but we really wanted to make it more modern and very welcoming for our customers, but also welcoming for people that are driving through Decatur,” VP for ARG Sales and Marketing Lenny Razo said.
Inside, the current facility will receive a two-story building addition and will include an open-model atrium with a welcome reception area for visitors. A loft-style lounge will be open to owners and visitors, with seating overlooking the campground. Charging stations for personal devices and equipment will be available, along with a complimentary laundry facility.
“An area to just sit down and relax, use their WiFi, read a book, and just kind of take it easy as their coach is being worked on,” Razo said.
Outside, Allied said it will offer service customers and visitors a 49-site, paved campsite with electric hook-up and space for a tow vehicle. The campsite will be landscaped, and a privacy fence will be installed around the campsite. Paved walking paths will be available for pet-owners, and an exterior entertainment patio with two gas fire-pits will be built.
“Today, what we call “Camp Decatur” is basically a stone gravel lot that has power. It also has a place where they can get fresh water for the motorhome and then they can dump their tanks as well,” Razo said about the current set-up.
A designated storm shelter will also be available in the event of inclement weather.
The company said this project is meant to give back to its customers as well as the city of Decatur. Both of those parties agree.
“They are very good corporate citizens, just good people to work with, and we’re pleased to have them here. It’s a great example of how they appreciate and regard their customer base. It just brings quality of place so much better for their customer base and for some of the employees,” Executive Director for Adams County Economic Development Larry Macklin said. “A lot of the people come annually, and they know their favorite restaurants and their favorite places to visit and go and they leave a lot of dollars in the community to our other businesses as a result of ARG being here. This is going to be quite an extravaganza in our minds. It’s going to be neat.”
Joe D’Eufemia and his wife Nancy usually start the year in Wyoming before coming to Decatur for annual service work. From there, they typically head to Maryland and North Carolina before parking in Florida for the winter.
“We spent 30 years in the military, and we lived in 12 different countries, but the United States is the best for sightseeing,” D’Eufemia said.
The couple usually stays at the ARG service center for about a week. They’ve owned RVs since 1973, and stayed at their fair share of camps.
“There’s other RV sales lots that are much nicer than this, so they needed to upgrade this area,” D’Eufemia said.
The couple said they’re looking forward to the improvements.
“The aesthetics for one thing, but it makes it more comfortable and easier for the customers. Right now, we’re in a gravel pit and our dog hates walking in the gravel,” D’Eufemia said.
The new visitor and factory service center is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2016. The company also offers daily tours at its facility. Those start at 9:00 a.m. and are open to the public. Company leaders also said this more than likely won’t be the last renovation or expansion in the near future.
“We definitely are adding in a growth mode, and we’re looking at where the motorhome market place is going. We definitely have plans in place for more expansions. I expect there will be other announcements here in the next coming 30-60 days. We’re always looking to expand when it makes sense for our entire company as the business grows,” Razo said.