Chalet RV, makers of truck and A-frame campers, could be in production again sometime this year, after more than a year’s hiatus.
A few weeks ago, the manufacturer, which shut its doors last winter after a roof collapsed in its camper facility, was purchased by Mahmood Almayah and Moshin Saeed, who hope to get the company’s Albany, Ore.-based facility back on track.
“We took on a big challenge,” Almayah said. “It’s definitely going to take some time to learn, and hopefully we will bring the best quality out.”
Since buying the company, Almayah and Saeed have been working to repair relationships with suppliers that soured under previous ownership, Almayah said.
“The issue isn’t with the parts itself but with the accounts,” he said. “The previous account (holder) was not maintaining his side of it, making payment on time, and stuff like that. For us, coming in that was not a fun one.”
While no formal warranty plan is in place, Almayah and Saeed plan to honor new warranty claims from products made during the previous owners’ tenure, according to Chalet’s Deborah Cover.
Cover said more information would be sent to dealers when a new warranty plan is finalized in the coming weeks.
Another issue Almayah and Saeed face is finding qualified workers to run the plant’s assembly lines after being closed for more than a year.
“Most of the good workers and skills people are already working somewhere else, so that’s going to be a tough one, to try to compete (in the labor force),” Almayah said.
Almayah and Saeed have business and engineering backgrounds in the automotive industry, and will consult with Chris Hanson, who owned the company before the most recent owners, Don and Pat Rose.
Almayah said he and Saeed aim to keep the transition as smooth as possible by capitalizing on the products already in place at Chalet, and making improvements as needed.
“We have no experience in the industry in-hand, but from all the research we did, we know it’s a top quality, for sure, but also there is a lot of room to improve on what they had. For example, some of the leak issues with some of the units, that’s definitely something we can improve on,” he said.
It’s still too early to tell if Chalet will be back in production this year, but the business partners would ideally have units rolling off the line by May.
Meanwhile, dealers are eager to see the company’s A-frame campers and high-end truck campers back on their lot.
“I love the product; It’s a great product,” Bob Miller, owner of Beaumont, Calif.-based Bob Miller RV said. “They built a trailer called Takena that I really liked too, but I haven’t had any product from them for a year. I was willing to buy them, but they don’t have them.”
P.J. Buerger, who, along with her husband co-owns Princess Craft in Round Rock, Texas, sold both the A-frame and truck campers from Chalet, and received a letter recently saying the company was under new ownership.
“We’d all been kind of waiting to see what was happening because we hadn’t heard,” Buerger said. “I’m excited that they’re coming back, and back in business. They build a great truck camper.”