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When Roger Faulkner nine months ago bought General Coach Canada in Hensall, Ontario, from Thor Industries Inc., the first thing he did was stop building traditional travel trailers, choosing instead to focus on recreational park trailers.
”I sold all the equipment so that I can’t ever be tempted to get in to RVs again,” Faulkner told RVBUSINESS.com. ”I have to remain focused in one direction or I’ll fail. The RV business is strong, but as a little guy up in Canada, I couldn’t compete in the RV business with the Forest Rivers and the Thors of the world.”
Faulkner, then-president of Thor’s Citair Inc., dba General Coach Canada, purchased the 60-year-old company from Thor on April 30, 2010, for an undisclosed sum. Thor had purchased the manufacturer of Citation travel trailers, in the early 1980s as one of the early acquisitions of Thor founder Wade F.B. Thompson.
Faulkner’s son, Chris, is vice president of sales and marketing.
Faulkner said that following his purchase, General Coach is establishing itself as a manufacturer of Huron Ridge entry-level, mid-range and high-end park models. ”I can build something for $35,000 and something for $200,000 and all points in between,” he said. ”I custom build so there’s not anything I won’t do as far as park models.”
General Coach, with 110 employees, is a ”preferred vendor” to Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), and Camping in Ontario, a Canadian campground association, and markets Huron Ridge recreational park trailers in Canada and in the northeastern U.S., although U.S. sales have been flagging recently because of the weak American dollar versus the Canadian dollar.
”It’s going as well as can be expected,” Faulkner said. ”It’s wintertime in Canada and not much is happening right now. But we’re doing fine.”