Near the end of a runway-straight stretch of pavement that parallels Interstate 87 in Plattsburgh, N.Y., sits a cluster of shiny silver pods glistening in the summer sun. The pods, which look like alien spacecraft that have just touched down to visit Adirondack Park, are Airstream travel trailers for sale to customers all over the world.
As reported by Seven Days, this is the home of Nomad Airstream. The 35,000-square-foot facility, formerly an April Cornell warehouse, is the exclusive distributor of Airstream travel trailers in Vermont and New York. Situated at the gateway to the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain, Nomad Airstream has become a global destination for recreational and business clients obsessed with the world’s first-ever modern recreational vehicle.
Anyone unfamiliar with the Airstream name has undoubtedly seen these iconic silver bullets sailing down the highway, parked in campgrounds or featured in countless films, TV shows and advertisements. Their sleek, art-deco designs have captivated consumers’ interest and affections since the first ones rolled off a Los Angeles production line back in 1936.
Since then, Airstreams have been used by everyone from U.S. military commanders and NASA astronauts to screen actors, directors and other celebrities. In 2001, Pamela Anderson reportedly received an all-white Airstream from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Dubbed the “Lovestream,” it was outfitted with a mirrored ceiling, white shag carpeting, a vibrating bed and a stripper pole.
Today, Airstream trailers occupy a unique niche in popular culture. There are now campgrounds, motor clubs, conventions, magazines, websites and even insurance companies devoted exclusively to Airstream enthusiasts, aka Airstreamers. And, though many people naturally associate the chrome domes with the national parks and deserts of the American Southwest, more of the trailers are sold in New York State than anywhere else in the world.
Capitalizing on their exclusive status in the North Country and the global Airstream phenomenon are Nomad president Steven Clement and CEO Guillaume Langevin. Three years ago, Clement, then a high-end Canadian clothier, and Langevin, a Montréal advertising executive, set up shop not far from Plattsburgh International Airport with modest plans to renovate three Airstream trailers with $100,000.
Today, Nomad has become North America’s largest restorer and renovator of new and used Airstreams. From four employees in 2010, the company has grown to 17, many of whom, Clement notes, are former airplane technicians.
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