New owners of Kimberley Kampers, James Cockburn and Brett McLaren.
New owners of Kimberley Kampers, James Cockburn and Brett McLaren. Contributed

Kimberley Kampers set to reopen as workers take over

SIX months after being placed into liquidation, Ballina-based business Kimberley Kampers has new owners who plan to "breathe life into the company".

Former employees James Cockburn and Brett McLaren have taken ownership of the company, vowing to rebuild the brand with the help of former colleagues.

More than 50 people lost their jobs when the company folded last July, but in a new development, the manufacturer of premium off road campers and caravans is set to relaunch in April this year, the new owners already planning new products and improvements.

Mr Cockburn, owner of several successful outdoor equipment businesses along with Brett McLaren, the previous Kimberley Kampers general manger, acquired the heritage brand on January 4 this year, in partnership.

Mr Cockburn said they have hit the ground running with significant investment and resources already injected into the business by both themselves and a small group of committed investors.

"Having been involved with Kimberley Kampers for a combined nearly 20 years, we are excited that we can now take a leading role in driving the innovation in robust, lightweight design and quality that Kimberley Kampers is renowned for, and continue to build upon their outstanding reputation," he said.

"The KK brand has a heritage of innovation and reliability. Adapting new technology to enhance the experience of travelling to, and staying in, remote and out of the way places. Its reputation in its class is second to none and building on that history is what we aim to achieve.

"We have started developing the framework for future innovations and products. we believe we will establish the new generation of Kimberley Kampers and remain at the forefront."

Mr McLaren said the company will operate out of the existing factory in Ballina, calling on the expertise of former colleagues to rebuild the company.

"Working from the same location and with many of the same team, we have already commenced work on improvements and opportunities that we plan to reveal along with the full range at the Sydney Caravan Camping and Supershow in April."

"Kimberley Kampers will continue at the existing factory location in Ballina. Initially commencing with a team of former employees, further re-employment is planned over the coming months as we scale up production."

The full range will be displayed at the Sydney Caravan Camping Supershow in April with first customer deliveries the same month.

Kimberley Kampers was founded in 1993 and celebrated 25 years in 2018.

About the new owners

James Cockburn has been involved with Kimberley Kampers for 12 years and International Corporate and Commercial businesses for more than 20 years.

As a break the "mould" Corporate Accountant, James has expedition travelled from Patagonia to Alaska among many other world-wide travels before making Australia his permanent home. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast who can be regularly seen off the beaten track camping and fishing with family and friends.

Brett McLaren has in excess of 20 years' corporate sales management and SME manufacturing business experience and had been a general manager at Kimberley Kampers for more than six years. Coming from the small country town of Mungindi, found inland on the border of Queensland and NSW, Brett is an avid traveller and camper who loves heading out west for camping, fishing and water-skiing trips with his family. He has a deep appreciation for our remote outback country.