Most manufacturers’ owner publications fell by the wayside in recent years, but Roughing It Smoothly, a corporate quarterly magazine from Alabama-based Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. (TMH), is an exception to that trend — having reached its 10th year in publication with the fall 2013 issue.
Behind Roughing It Smoothly for the past 40 issues have been Fred and Carolyn Thompson, whose first 32-page issue featured a 2004 Phaeton Class A on the cover.
In contrast, the latest issue totaled 80 glossy pages of Tiffin-centric information in a print publication that generally includes detailed product reviews and interviews with Tiffin owners – some of whom have traveled in their coaches for up to 30 years – plus stories on Tiffin employees and in-depth features on loyal dealers.
The magazine also gives Bob Tiffin, the company’s legendary president and CEO, a chance to stay in touch with owners through his “President’s Corner” column.
“Tiffin keeps his constituency informed about current developments at TMH along with interesting stories about the history of the company, his personal tests of selected coaches, and his and Mrs. Tiffin’s trips to favorite destinations,” says Fred Thompson, who serves as editor and writer while Carolyn, a retired teacher, is copy editor. The two operate a Monroe, Ga., firm called Book Production Resources, which also generates books for Smithsonian, the American Philosophical Society and several historical societies.
In addition to owner interviews from Elaine Austin, Roughing it Smoothly often includes tips on traveling with pets from Dr. John Pilarczyk and travel stories from regular contributors like long-time Tiffin owner Norman Spray.
In “Serious Tech Talk,” Danny Inman has answered hundreds of questions about owners’ coaches from his 39-plus years of TMH experience. “If he didn’t know the answer, he spent hours calling everyone he knew until he found the answer,” says Thompson. “His column is the first thing that many owners read when they receive RIS.”
Also behind the scenes is Andy Cargile, who joined the staff in 2006 to handle Adobe programs and address the magazine’s color, typesetting and layouts.
“Carolyn and I have enjoyed writing and producing the magazine,” said Thompson, who speaks highly of Tiffin’s ongoing innovation. “It has been an exciting adventure to visit and write about some of America’s greatest wonders and scenic parks. We have visited national parks from Maine to California, from Texas to Yellowstone, from Florida to Minnesota. We have climbed mountains, rafted rivers, and flown in helicopters to create stories for our owners’ enjoyment and use in planning their own trips. We hope to bring them many more issues.”