Tuesday, March 06, 2012
TRAVELAND USA CLOSING IN IRVINE CALIFORNIA
IRVINE – Traveland USA, one of the nation's first one-stop shops for recreational vehicles and services and a fixture in Irvine for nearly four decades, is about to close its gates for good.
The Irvine Co. decided not to extend the lease on the 38-acre parcel that Traveland has occupied off the I-5 freeway at Sand Canyon Avenue since 1973.
"The Traveland site was always intended to transition to a more permanent use upon lease expiration," Erin Freeman, Irvine Co. spokeswoman, said in a statement Monday. "We believe transitioning to a longer-term use will better serve the city, its residents and those who come to work in Irvine."
She said the Irvine Co. is exploring various options for the site and has nothing immediate to announce.
The city of Irvine and the Irvine Chamber of Commerce both tried to find another location in the city for Traveland to move to without success.
It is unclear whether Traveland as a business will continue. The owners could not be reached for comment.
Traveland was built around a frontier-days theme and was as much a family entertainment destination as it was an RV mall.
Weekends often saw 1,400 cars come through the gates, many loaded with families who would picnic at the duck pond and enjoy entertainment at the nearby gazebo.
And it was a roaring success. During an eight-year stretch in the 1980s, 50,000 RVs, travel trailers, vans, camper shells and tent trailers worth $500 million were sold.
Now it is a virtual ghost town. The main office, with its brick red wood siding and white trim stands vacant. Other buildings have been boarded up.
El Toro RV, which services recreational vehicles, moved out at the first of the year for new premises on Atlantic Ocean Drive in Lake Forest.
That left McMahon's RV, which has been at Traveland since 1994, as the last dealer at the park.
Mike Lankford, McMahon's vice president, noted that after all the ups and downs the RV industry has gone through – and even with the current rising gas prices - Traveland is closing just as business is picking up steam again. He said McMahon's sold 144 vehicles at a show over the weekend.
McMahon's will move to another undisclosed location in Orange County within the next few months, Lankford said.
Traveland had been due to close in 2001 when its lease expired. But the Irvine Co. extended the lease three times. After so many extensions, the RV park's closure has come as somewhat of a surprise.
Word of the closure has brought former workers back for a last look at their old haunt.
"In 1986, it was my first sales job," reminisced Mark Rosenbaum, now sales director at Mike Thompson's RV, which relocated from Traveland to Fountain Valley in 1993.
He dropped by a few weeks ago.
"My wife and kids used to come out and feed the ducks," he recalled.
It was a unique place and experience, he said, one that will likely never be repeated in Orange County again.
MONACO MOTOR HOMES IS NOW PART OF OREGON RV HISTORY
Date: Monday, March 5, 2012, 4:06pm PST
Navistar International Corp. plans to cease production of motorized RVs at its Monaco RV manufacturing facility in Coburg, resulting in a loss of 255 jobs.
According to a notice filed with the Department of Community Colleges & Workforce Development, Navistar will lay off the employees between March 16 and April 27.
It's the latest downsizing by Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar, which purchased Monaco out of bankruptcy in 2009 for $47 million. Roughly 450 jobs were lost in Coburg last year when Navistar consolidated all of Monaco's motor coach manufacturing at a plant in Wakarusa, Ind., and moved administrative positions to Navistar's Illinois corporate campus.
At one time, Monaco was one of Oregon's biggest employers. When it filed for bankruptcy in March 2009, it employed 2,225. In 2007 it had $1.27 billion in sales, making it Oregon's eighth-largest public company.