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New luxury coach maker launched.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 5/08/04): Tom Nestell founded Marathon Coach in 1983. Robert Schoellhorn bought the company in 1994. An article on Page 1A in Thursday's Register-Guard contained incorrect information about the founding of the company.

COBURG - Lane County's booming RV industry is about to roll out a new manufacturer - Legacy Coach.

Tom Nestell, a co-founder of Coburg-based Marathon Coach, at a news conference today will formally announce the creation of the new coach maker that will specialize in converting bus frames into luxury coaches.

The company initially will start with 30 employees, mostly in production, said Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro Partnership, an economic development group.

It hopes to have about 60 employees within 12 months, and 160 within two years, he said.

The company is leasing space on Roberts Court in Coburg that previously was occupied by Pacific Wood Systems, which moved to Veneta.

Nestell and local venture capitalists assembled an undisclosed amount of cash to start the firm, Roberts said. Details were not available on the types or prices of coaches Legacy will make.

In a bus conversion, a manufacturer purchases the bus chassis from a bus manufacturer and builds the RV shell onto it.

Chassis maker Prevost Car Inc. approached Nestell with a plan for an alliance on this project, Roberts said. Prevost, based in Quebec, Canada, is a world leader is bus chassis manufacturing.

The national RV market is surging after a brief lull, and Roberts said demand for bus conversions is outstripping supply.

The growth is good news for Lane County's economy. Marathon, which Nestell co-founded with Bob Schoellhorn about a decade ago, hit sales of more than $100 million last year.

And earlier this year the company said it plans to up production at its Coburg factory by 20 percent in the next two years.

Industry giant Monaco Coach Corp. of Coburg reported a record quarter in the three months ended April 3, with sales up 30 percent from the year-earlier period.

Rival Country Coach in recent months has added 200 employees at its Junction City factory as it ramps up production.
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Title Annotation:Business; A Coburg start-up called Legacy will have an initial payroll of about 30 workers
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 6, 2004
Previous Article:HE'S GOT THE RIGHT STUFF.

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