Third Annual RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards Draw Convention Crowd
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Affinity Group, Inc.
Tuesday October 12, 2010
VENTURA, CALIF. (Oct. 12, 2010) – Representatives of a wide variety of industry factions attended last week’s 2010 RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards reception and dinner during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to show their support for the 50 U.S. and Canadian RV retailers being recognized as part of the three-year-old, bar-raising, quality-focused program.
The awards program is underwritten by RV Business magazine as well as RVBUSINESS.com and its parent company, Affinity Media.
The dinner drew about 360 diners and capped the last full day of the national dealers’ convention, which is organized by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada).
“Our theme for the evening was ‘Leading the Country Out of Recession’ because the RV industry is always at the head of economic trends, and the trends we’re seeing are positive,” said Affinity President and CEO Mike Schneider in his opening remarks. “RV shipments through August were more than 70 percent ahead of last year’s. Record crowds were reported at the recent PRVCA show in Hershey, Pa., and there was enormous buzz around the open houses that drew hundreds of dealers in late September to manufacturers’ facilities in northern Indiana.”
RVDA President Mike Molino welcomed the diners, while outgoing RVDA Chairman Debbie Brunoforte, of Little Dealer Little Prices in Phoenix, Ariz., and new Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Chairman Gregg Fore introduced the dealers on stage.
Keynote speaker and conservative pundit Ann Coulter took questions from the audience for a Q&A session after her remarks.
The goal of the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards program, said Schneider, is to help provide benchmarks for retailers with regard to overall professionalism and the general spirit and specific recommendations of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence.
“When we showcase the best, we highlight what we’re doing right in the industry and are inspired to push ourselves in new ways,” said Schneider.
Named to the Top 50 roster this year, along with 45 other dealers, were five Blue Ribbon dealers, whose achievements were deemed to have exceeded the rest by the panel of experts that annually selects the award winners from among applications of dealerships that were initially nominated by RV manufacturers.
This year’s Blue Ribbon winners included Altmans Winnebago, Carson, Calif.; ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, Edmonton, Alberta; Bill Plemmons RV World, Rural Hall, N.C.; Campers Inn, Kingston, N.H.; and Lazydays, Seffner, Fla.
That judging panel also names an Altman Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for excellence in RV retailing. This year’s unanimous selection: Crosby Forrest of Dixie RV Superstore in Newport News, Va.
As a 34-year RVDA member, Forrest served as president, vice president and treasurer of that Fairfax, Va.-based trade group. In 2000, he received RVDA’s James B. Summers Award for outstanding contributions to the association and its members, and in 2006 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
“Crosby has always been a fanatic about the importance of customer care and making sure every person who stepped onto his dealership was treated right,” Schneider said. “He’s an obvious and fitting choice for 2010’s Altman Award.”
As part of the awards process, U.S. and Canadian manufacturers each spring are asked to submit the names of their best dealers not just in terms of sales, but in overall professionalism and best practices. Nominated dealers were then invited to apply for the Top 50 award program using an extensive application.
The five key criteria on which the Top 50 were evaluated included F&I, technician training, aftermarket stores, civic involvement, and, above all, consumer care. Elements from the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence and the late Gaylord Maxwell’s Consumer Care Commission were the “springboard and inspiration” for the content of the application, according to RV Business Publisher Sherman Goldenberg.
The purpose of using those parameters, Goldenberg said, is to emphasize that any dealer, regardless of size or location, can exemplify what an excellent dealership should be. “We wanted to include dealers both large and small, urban and rural, towable and motorized, old-school and ultra-modern to achieve a wide representation,” he explained.
“I was glad to see the mention about the Committee on Excellence Task Forces,” said Rick Horsey, president of Top 50 dealer Parkview RV in Smyrna, Del. and chairman of the RVDA Education Foundation. “Those are solid, legitimate benchmarks.”
The selected dealers will be included in a comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign through RV Business and its sister publications Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life. Dealers also receive stock press releases for their local newspapers plus promotional Top 50 logo items, window decals and other PR tools to help them publicize the award at their dealerships and in their local communities.
“These dealers have earned the right to toot their own horns about this very notable accomplishment. We want to help them spread the word in any way we can,” said Goldenberg.
Dealers agree it’s something to brag about. “The Top 50 award is an excellent example of the importance and dedication of small business in America, and we should all be proud,” noted Jeff Hirsch, of Camper’s Inn. “This is a terrific tribute to our founder’s dream. I was very proud of everyone who had a part in helping realize this dream over the last 44 years.”
Among this year’s other Top 50 winners (in alphabetical order):
• Aberdeen RV Center, Aberdeen, Miss.
• Aloha RV, Albuquerque, N.M.
• Alpin Haus, Amsterdam, N.Y.
• American RV Sales & Service, Grand Rapids, Mich.
• Apache Village RV Center, Hazelwood, Mo.
• Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, Md.
• Big Country RV, Bend, Ore.
• Boat N RV Superstores, West Coxsackie, N.Y.
• Bucars RV Centre, Balzac, Alberta
• Capital RV Center, Bismarck, N.D.
• Carolina Coach & Camper, Claremont, N.C.
• Coachlight RV Sales, Carthage, Mo.
• Coates RV Center, Columbus, Minn.
• Colonial Airstream & Itasca, Lakewood, N.J.
• Curtis Trailers, Portland, Ore.
• Dodd RV, Portsmouth, Va.
• Driftwood RV Centers, Clermont, N.J.
• Dusty’s Camper World, Bartow, Fla.
• ExploreUSA RV Supercenter, Plano, Texas
• Greeneway RV Sales & Service, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
• Guaranty RV Supercenters, Junction City, Ore.
• Hilltop Trailer Sales, Fridley, Minn.
• Kings Campers, Wausau, Wis.
• Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, Ariz.
• Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
• Modern Trailer Sales, Anderson, Ind.
• Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, Ind.
• Parkview RV Center, Smyrna, Del.
• PleasureLand RV Center, St. Cloud, Minn.
• Pontiac RV, Pontiac, Ill.
• Poulsbo RV, Kent, Wash.
• Richardson’s RV Centers, Riverside, Calif.
• Rick’s RV Center, Joliet, Ill.
• Roy Robinson Motorhome & RV Center, Marysville, Wash.
• Safford RV, Thornburg, Va.
• Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, Minn.
• Tennessee RV Sales & Service, Knoxville, Tenn.
• Terrell Camping Center, Terrell, N.C.
• Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C.
• Topper’s Camping Center, Waller, Texas
• Veurinks’ RV Center, Grand Rapids, Mich.
• Wilkins Recreational Vehicles, Bath, N.Y.
• Windish RV Center, Lakewood, Colo.
• Woody’s RV World, Red Deer, Alberta
Providing sponsor support for this year’s program were the following Leadership Alliance members: ADP Lightspeed, Salt Lake City, Utah; Bank of the West, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Blue Ox, Pender, Neb.; Cummins Onan, Minneapolis, Minn.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Gaffney, S.C.; RV America Insurance, Simi Valley, Calif.; RV Trader, Norfolk, Va.; and Protective Insurance, Chesterfield, Mo. In addition, Mannheim Auctions, Atlanta, Ga. and GE Capital, Tempe, Ariz. were pre-event cocktail party and keynote speaker co-sponsors, respectively.
For more information about the Top 50 dealers, program or sponsors, visit www.RVBusiness.com or contact Sherman Goldenberg at email@example.com.
About the Top 50 RV Dealers Program:
The program’s purpose is to showcase credible role models and establish best business practices benchmarks at the retail level of the RV industry in terms of staff training, performing warranty and service work, managing aftermarket stores, superior consumer care and being good citizens of their respective communities. The dealerships were selected among those nominated as the best by the nation’s RV manufacturers. The program was founded and coordinated by RV Business magazine with additional support provided by the Leadership Alliance.
Affinity, www.affinitygroup.com, is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom and adventure of "Recreation in Motion." The company works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.
Affinity is organized into four business units – Affinity Media, Affinity Clubs, Affinity Events and Affinity Ventures. Their corporate headquarters are in Ventura, Calif. Subsidiary operations and divisions are based in multiple locations throughout the United States.
With ADP Lightspeed, dealers can steer their businesses with more precision than ever before. The integrated modules in the LightspeedEVO RV dealer management system include comprehensive sales and F&I tools, real-time accounting functions, service tracking, automated parts inventory management and rental unit management. For more information, visit www.adplightspeed.com.
About Bank of the West
Bank of the West, with more than $60 billion in assets and community bank roots dating back more than 135 years, is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has more than 700 commercial and retail banking locations throughout 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West originates commercial, small business and consumer loans and leases, as well as provides a range of other individual and commercial deposit, cash management, trust, and investment products. For more information contact your Bank of the West Account Manager or on the web at www.bankofthewest.com.
About Blue Ox
Blue Ox, the leading manufacturer of towing and hitching products, contributes their success to their dealer partners. The vital interest in their success through providing education, innovative new products and support invested in serving the dealers needs long after their sale has been paramount to developing the strong partnerships which have made their dealers True Blue.
For more information, visit www.blueox.com.
About Cummins Onan RV Generators
Cummins Onan RV Generators are built by Cummins Power Generation, the global leader in generator design and construction. For nearly 80 years, the company’s generators have been providing reliable stationary and portable power for cities, hospitals, shopping centers, military vehicles and fire engines around the world, as well as the U.S. RV industry. For more information, visit www.cumminsonan.com.
About Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) manufactures diesel chassis for walk-in vans, motorhomes, school buses, and commercial buses and enjoys market share leadership in all addressable industries. Established in 1995, FCCC chassis provide customers with exceptional performance and reliability. More than 400 dealers in the United States and Canada provide sales and service, and FCCC offers 24/7 customer support at 1-800-FTL-HELP.
About RV America Insurance
RV America has provided the lowest rates for specialized recreational vehicle insurance for more than two decades, and each of our companies is rated "A, Excellent" or higher by A.M. Best Company. We work hard to find you the best rate and coverage for your travel trailer and motorhome insurance needs. For more information, visit www.RVAinsurance.com.
About RV Trader
Available at www.RVTrader.com is the widest selection of classified ads, with more than 60,000 recreational vehicles to choose from and more than 800 dealership listings. Over 640,000 serious buyers visit RVTrader.com each month—more than any other source. RVTrader.com also offers video advertising, web services, lead management, mobile search and several new tools and lead generating opportunities. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or research recreational vehicles, RVTrader.com is the #1 resource for all RV enthusiasts, manufacturers and dealers.
About Protective – Asset Protection Division
Protective’s Asset Protection Division offers XtraRide RV extended protection programs, exclusively endorsed by RVDA, designed to meet recreational vehicle dealership needs. Building customer loyalty, increasing repeat business and generating customer referrals are among the added benefits XtraRide brings to its dealership partners. For more information, visit www.protectiveassetprotection.com.