Optimism as French company moves to buy Roadtrek
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:45PM EDT
A French RV maker is set to purchase Roadtrek, with the intention of hiring as many as 200 employees.
The last few months have been rough for the former employees of Erwin Hymer North America, but the purchase has some employees optimistic that they could be rehired.
Last week, Rapido Group, which owns the Westfalia brand of recreational vehicles, has signed a binding letter of intent to buy Roadtrek.
"Our priority will be to reestablish operations and further develop this famous brand in North America," says Rapido President Pierre Rousseau.
In February, the company was put into receivership, terminated its staff and was put up for sale.
More than 800 people lost their jobs.
“Everything crashed on February 15th and we know we have to start from scratch,” says Jerzy Kowalski. He worked for the defunct company for over two decades.
Now Kowalski is seeking help at the Erwin Hymer Action Centre, run by the Waterloo Region United Way. About a dozen former employees have dropped by since it opened on Monday.
“When you lose a job really suddenly, there’s a grieving process, there’s stress involved,” explains Nancy Bird with United Way.
She says the centre connects employees with employment services, job interview skills and resume-building.
Those same former employees are hopeful about the revival of the manufacturer.
“It’s just nice to hear a company is interested in revitalizing RoadTrek,” says Paul Clarke.
He says he went through a rough patch after being let go but is feeling better since the announcement.
Jeff Hanemaayer, who used to own RoadTrek, says he believes they will use the plant on Tyler Driver in Cambridge, not the Shirley Avenue in Kitchener.
He says Rapido will be very good for the RoadTrek brand.