On a very hot Friday the 13th, Hubs and I were driving back to Denver from the east coast and while on I-70 W through Ohio, we knew we couldn’t go any further without a stop ~ The Airstream Factory and Service Center! I couldn’t believe I was actually at the Mother Ship and was about to see where it all happens. After all, Airstreams are built in the USA and right smack in the middle of the tiny village of Jackson Center, Ohio. From I-70 one would have no clue that this factory sits just a few miles up the road (well, maybe more than just a few miles). You drive past farm after farm and then it appears, this sign:
Just a little ways from this sign you arrive at 419 West Pike Street, the Airstream factory. You can’t miss it. See for yourself what is in the parking lot just outside the customer service entrance:
We arrived a bit early so we could get signed in, check out the lobby and the gift shop. Did I say gift shop? Well, bring your credit card because I don’t think you’ll be able to resist if you are an Airstream fan. From Airstream ties to Christmas ornaments to Airstream parts, there will be something for everyone. When you enter the main entrance to the customer service desk, you are greeted by a very friendly staff member who can answer all of your questions about the factory tour, the service center and the gift shop. Then turn around and you’ll see this in the lobby:
On this particular summer day, the tour group was larger than normal for the staff at Airstream. We learned that Good Sam RV Club was having a rally in town and there were about 50 folks eager for the tour. I would like to go back and experience the tour again on a day that there weren’t so many peeps but, we were still thrilled to be there. Our host was Don Ambos who was knowledgeable and very friendly. He has been with Airstream for over 35 years and couldn’t imagine a better company to have spent his career with. Thanks, Don for a great tour!!
Photos are not allowed during the tour so you can imagine, I was chomping at the bit. But, the good girl that I am, I abided by the rules and didn’t take any photos inside the plant. Besides, that will just make you want to go see it for yourself all the more, right?
Here is a video of the inside of the Airstream plant and it’s very interesting. If you are lucky, you might witness some of this on your tour:
Airstream just celebrated their 80 year anniversary thus, making them the oldest RV manufacturer in North America. With 300 dedicated employees, Airstreams are still handmade and maintain the quality and excellence one would expect in this iconic travel trailer.
Below is a not-so great photo of Wally Byam’s Gold Airstream. It sits in a lot outside the plant but, I couldn’t get close enough to get a good shot. Here is a great article on this particular trailers history.
I highly recommend all ‘Streamers if you haven’t been to Jackson Center it’s well worth the trip. And, if you are thinking about purchasing an Airstream, it will be an amazing experience for you as they can answer all of your questions and concerns.
And don’t forget about the annual Alumapalooza event each summer in Jackson Center. Click here to learn more about this uber fun celebration.
And, before you venture down the road and you are in need of some good, cheap eats, an Airstream employee refered us to The Inn Between Tavern just down the street from the factory in Botkins, OH. The fried chicken is delish and cold draft beer is well worth the stop!!
Fox News recently published this article in which Airstream is included: America’s 10 Greatest Factory Tours.
Aerial view of Airstream Factory and Service Center in Jackson Center, Ohio:
Photo source: Anna Sullivan Photography