Though it began as a pioneer outpost for loggers, trappers and traders, Elkhart soon capitalized on the readily available water power to become a busy manufacturing center in the mid 1850's. From that early beginning, manufacturing has continued to power the local economy. Recent years have seen steady manufacturing growth and diversification.
Through the recent past, up to the present day, Elkhart has been blessed with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. And though I've mentioned it elsewhere, Elkhart is among the most economical communities in the nation for buying a home!
Alka-Seltzer, One-A-Day Vitamins, and Bactine were all invented and produced in Elkhart.
Elkhart is world-famous for the production of musical instruments, cherished by student musicians and professionals alike.
Home of Speedy Alka-Seltzer
Elkhart is home to some of the most famous manufactured products in the world. It is here that Alka-Selzer, Bactine and One-A-Day vitamins were invented.
America's Band Instrument Capital
Elkhart is also the most important American city for the production of band instruments. A entrepreneur named C. G. Conn began manufacturing trumpets, cornets, and other horns here during the last century, and the resulting pool of talented craftspeople attracted other major instrument manufacturers, including Selmer, Bach, Gemeinhardt. Selmer and Conn now have joined forces, and operate as Conn-Selmer.
Motor Homes, Travel Trailers, and Manufactured Housing
Many people around the country also recognize Elkhart as the headquarters of the recreational vehicle industry (see Coachmen, Four Winds, Starcraft, Gulf Stream Coach, Forest River, and others). The production of RV trailers, motorhomes and campers, first built as an offshoot of the manufactured housing industry after the second world war, now represent the largest single economic segment of the local economy. Besides the numerous manufacturing facilities, Elkhart is also home to many of the suppliers, assemblers, and related businesses that support the RV industry. The manufactured housing industry itself is still a key part of the economy, too.
Though thousands of people work directly for the industries mentioned above, the Elkhart area has all the diversity you'd expect to find in a city her size; from butcher shops to book stores; computer programmers to interior decorators. Most of the people of Elkhart will agree - It's a great place to live and raise a family!
Care to learn more about the Elkhart economy? Or would you like to find an Elkhart area business, service or product? Click here for the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.
Elkhart is the world center of the RV manufacturing industry, producing hundreds of thousands of trailers and motor homes a year.