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Made in America: RV industry booms as families vacation in new ways during COVID-19 pandemic


(NEW YORK) — As more families continue to work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some have decided to make their “remote work” truly remote.

Kina and Nellie Pickett of Bozeman, Montana, purchased an Airstream RV at the beginning of the pandemic. With their two children, Ash, 6, and Story, 4, they have traveled over 18,000 miles in the last year.

“We felt really safe navigating the pandemic and we got to see some pretty amazing places across America,” said dad Kina Pickett, who added that the family has visited 12 different states.

The family’s RV was built by Airstream in Jackson Center, Ohio. At the start of the pandemic, the company had to lay off a majority of their workers when they shut down their factory, according to CEO Bob Wheeler.

“It’s really been a rollercoaster for the last 12 months. This time last year, we were completely shut down,” Wheeler told ABC’s “World News Tonight.” “The plant was dark and we laid off about 25% of the company thinking we were going to be stepping into this recession.”

Amid the global crisis, the company has rehired more than 1200 workers and brought on an additional 400 new hires to keep up with the growing demand. Wheeler said he’s grateful for the boom in business.

“When we came back from the shutdown, business took off. We didn’t anticipate it, but it really knocked our socks off,” Wheeler said. “We rehired everybody that we’d laid off.”

Although back in Montana for now, the Pickett family told “World News Tonight” on Monday that they are already planning their next great American road trip.

“It’s a great cozy little space,” said Kina Pickett. “We love hitting the road in this thing.”

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