Out of cash, Born Free shuts its doors

Editor’s note: Brandon Dodgen, son of Born Free Founder John Dodgen, told RV Daily Report late today after the newsletter went out that, “as far as I know, this is a temporary shut down. Waiting to hear further from the company’s ownership.”

HUMBOLDT, Iowa — Callers to Born Free Motorhomes this week are hearing a message that the company is shutdown through Friday. However, based on other correspondence with Born Free owners, the situation appears permanent, RV Daily Report has learned.

Two New York owners were scheduled to have factory work done June 12 in Humboldt. However, they received a voicemail and email Tuesday that the entire staff had been laid off. The June appointment was cancelled and the owners were told if the company reopens they will be called to reschedule.

A Wisconsin customer inquiring about ordering parts for his Born Free motorhome received an automatic reply noting “due to circumstances beyond our control, as of May 15, 2017 the Born Free factory in Humboldt, Iowa, will be closed until further notice.”

A dealer from Virginia arranging service for a customer was told the factory had been closed.

Another employee posted a notice on the Born Free owner’s forum. “The only information I have to post at this time is that the Born Free factory is closed until further notice. When and if the company receives an infusion of additional cooperating capital, then it will reopen.
Additional information will be posted here when it becomes available.”

A dealer partner indicated that the company was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy; however, no cases had been filed as of this morning.

Born Free has a solid reputation and very loyal following by the owners of its Class C motorhomes.

Two years ago in January, the company was sold to HFB Investments, a private equity firm based in Des Moines, Iowa.

In September 2015, John Dodgen, the founder of Born Free, passed away after a lengthy bout with cancer.

RV Daily Report attempted to contact company officials, but they have not yet responded to the inquiries.


Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

Leave a Comment

  • covfam says:

    it looks like former president of Born Free Rv Jeff Butler is now the president of the brand new rv company Chinook RV
    http://www.chinookrv.com/–coming-soon and Branden Dodgen is now and acting president of step 3 realty LLC Both list their former ending of employment with Born free RV in May 2017 just thought this information can help those in need

  • Jan Hofmeister says:

    So is he going to help Born Free RV owner’s with parts if needed.? Like fender work, etc. for all Mr. Dodgen’s fleet of Born Free RV owners? No notice, where do we get help if needed for the best RV ever…..? Jan

  • Bill Troutman says:

    Another example of how these private equity firms are ravaging good businesses and ruining honest operations. Watch to see if they if they start selling Born Free again, but stripped down and cheapened up.

    • Murley Henson says:

      Just like Trump. Drain the profits and skip town. No loyalty.

      • J says:

        LOL @ Murley……What Bill Troutman refers to came out of the 2008 recession. Not a Trump supporter but what in the he’ll does he have to do with it. Just look at the Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway relationship with Forest River, Thor Industries, Drew Industries, or the timeframe of Coleman, Fleetwood, FCTA. Where does Donald fit in with that?

  • GAWall says:

    I’m sorry to hear the Birn Free Motor Home is not being produced any moore.It was an excellent product
    And I’m saddened to see the trash replacing it..No quality anymore.

  • HARRY J. DILLON says:

    Does anyone know if there is any completed inventory left to sell? I’d be interested in buying whatever is left for $.50 on the $1.00

  • Charlie Housman says:

    Let me know if anyone finds any info on remaining inventory or parts. I desperately need a rear passenger tail light, put 5000 miles on my Born Free in a year without one problem and broke my taillight in my own driveway. DUUHHHH

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