Millennium Luxury Coaches, a Sanford, Fla., company that converts high-end Prevost bus shells, is one of 50 businesses that will receive the ”2011 Florida Companies to Watch” award during a ceremony Thursday (Feb. 17) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.
”We were thrilled to find out that we were being considered for it, and when we found out we had won, we were very excited,” said Evelyn Figueroa, vice president of the 62-employee converter that she and her husband, Nelson, founded in 2001.
The award is presented to ”second stage” Florida firms with between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue or working capital that have demonstrated ”the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership (or) sustainable competitive advantage,” according to a news release.
The company converts about a dozen Prevost coaches a year — 70% of which are built on spec — that are marketed at Millennium’s own rallies and at major U.S. RV shows, Evelyn Figueroa told RVBUSINESS.com. Retail prices for new conversions range from $1.5 million to $1.8 million, depending on the configuration of slideouts in the Prevost chassis.
Between new units, trade-ins and consignments, Millennium sells about 30 units a year, she said. ”We are selling some to people who are on their second and third coach,” she said.
Millennium also refurbishes Prevost-based motorhomes for existing owners. ”We do anything from installing a new DVD player to a $300,000 remodel where we redo an entire interior,” Figueroa said.
Millennium operates out of a 100,000-square-foot factory east of Orlando that includes separate remodeling, collision and paint centers.
Although some high-end manufacturers went out of business or saw retail sales dip sharply during the recession, Figueroa said Millennium didn’t feel the effect.
”We never had a decline in business,” she said. ”Actually, last year was the best year for our company and we expect to do better this year.
”When everybody else went into recession mode, we expanded,” she added. ”That’s not to say that we took lightly what was going on around us. But by diversifying our business and increasing our market share, we didn’t feel the recession. We already are taking orders for next year. We can’t build as many as we could sell.”
The ”2011 Florida Companies to Watch” award is sponsored by state-funded GrowFL economic development initiative, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida and the Florida chapters of the Association for Corporate Growth, in association with the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation.