How to Buy an Oliver, Chapter Three / by Dave Hileman

Before visiting the Oliver travel trailer factory in Hohenwald, TN, factory tour experiences were usually about food – chocolate, pretzels and potato chips in Pennsylvania, ice cream, cheese and maple syrup in Vermont – mostly through windows in long hallways beside the production area.  We did see F150 trucks assembled at Ford plant in Michigan but only from elevated walkways. And lets not even talk about the Hershey singing cows! So here we expected to see large machines putting together jigsaw puzzle trailers. Instead, as we walked through the cavernous building, we met people at each station on the factory floor carefully fitting together substantial metal frames and huge molded hulls of fiberglass with all of the electrical systems, plumbing and heating ducts carefully placed between two layers of the hull. Finishing and cleaning the inside of each trailer was accomplished with the same care and attention - as if each employee might drive that trailer on a family vacation.  We met Dana & Angela who did the final clean up, we talked with the electrician, the welders, the molder and more. We had a nice conversation with Jason, I think,. who addressed any flaws in the trailer with patience and craftsmanship. Each person’s pride, enthusiasm and dedication to improving each model absolutely sold us on the Oliver. So back at the showroom with Anita we turned over our chest of gold, agreed to provide the naming rights to our first great-grandchild and started home worried about what we needed to buy to bring the trailer home in a month. The MINI wasn't going to work.