In just a few days, hundreds of people will descend on the former headquarters of Erwin Hymer Group North America in Cambridge and try to score a deal.
This story by James Jackson originally appeared in the Waterloo Region Record.
They'll be bidding on tens of millions of dollars’ worth of camping trailers, RV parts, tools and office supplies during a massive four-day auction that starts July 16. Hundreds more will log on from around the world to bid online.
But how did it come to this?
Just three years ago, German-based Erwin Hymer Group bought the company – then called Roadtrek – from U.S.-based capital investment firm Industrial Opportunity Partners and rebranded it as Erwin Hymer Group North America with a plan to conquer this continent's camper van market.
It was the second time in five years that Roadtrek had been bought by a foreign investor, and management soon made it clear they planned to drastically ramp up production.
“If I’m $100 million U.S. in sales now, I’ll be $500 million U.S. in four years,” President and CEO Jim Hammill told The Record in April 2016, just two months after the deal closed.
By early 2019 however, the company was in receivership, 850 people had lost their jobs and about 900 creditors were owed nearly $300 million. A notice to creditors stated the company had only about $120 million worth of assets, the majority of it in the form of inventory.
Paperwork filed with the receivership application on Feb. 15 revealed that “financial irregularities were pervasive” throughout the company “and may have pre-existed” Erwin Hymer Group’s acquisition of Roadtrek.