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Priority Network has ‘Best Meeting in 18 Years’

April 13, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Judging by the attitudes and comments of the independent RV dealers who gathered Mar. 28-30 at the M Resort Spa & Casino Hotel in suburban Las Vegas for the 18th Annual Priority RV Network Meeting, the U.S. RV industry – barring the unforeseen – is in a position to post its seventh consecutive year of growth in 2016. That goes for Priority’s individual members, including a number of the country’s best known independent retailers, as well as for the Priority RV Network itself – a “dealer-run,... Read more

Q&A: Keller Is Expanding Its East Coast Reach

March 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The shifting tectonic plates in the RV parts and accessories aftermarket have actually accelerated the growth of some of North America’s so-called “regional” distributors – small-to-midsize operations like Port Trevorton, Pa.-based Keller Marine & RV. The 100-employee distributorship, a long-term player in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States launched in 1958 as a boat parts distributor by George and Margaret Keller, is run today by the Kellers’ son, President Mike Keller, and daughter,... Read more

Distributor Meyer Has RV Market in Crosshairs

March 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Meyer Distributing corporate offices in Jasper, Ind. In the rapidly changing landscape of the North American RV parts and accessories arena, one of the newest entrants — and perhaps one of the real wild cards for existing players in this highly competitive field — is Meyer Distributing, a Jasper, Ind.-based automotive parts specialist that directly stepped in last July with the acquisition of regional 5 Seasons RV Distribution out of Portland, Ore. While that gave Meyer a leg up in the... Read more

The BUZZ: Meet Winnebago’s CEO Mike Happe

February 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Mike Happe When RVB caught up with new Winnebago Industries Inc. President and CEO Michael J. Happe late Friday afternoon (Feb. 12), he was driving north from Winnebago’s Forest City, Iowa, headquarters to the suburban St. Paul, Minn., site of his 17-year-old son Brady’s high school basketball game. It was a fitting moment for Happe, a former Toro executive who succeeded Winnebago CEO Randy Potts on Jan. 18 and is working to balance family demands with those of the 2,900-employee, publicly-held... Read more

Elkhart ‘Open House’ is Set for Week of Sept. 19

February 5, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

The 2016 Elkhart RV Open House, one of the RV industry’s two key national wholesale RV-buying trade venues, is slated for the week of Sept. 19 in and around the northern Indiana city of Elkhart. The show immediately follows one of the year’s top retail-centric events – the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association’s popular Hershey Show, Sept. 12-18 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. The release of the dates for the Open House, originally launched in 2009 as a proprietary Forest River Inc.... Read more

WESCO Exec Wollschlager Named Dicor’s COO

February 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Anthony Wollschlager Anthony Wollschlager is joining Dicor Corp. as Chief Operating Officer, effective Monday (Feb. 8), reports Dicor President Gregg Fore. Wollschlager, a native Australian and a graduate of the University of Evansville, joins Dicor after having served in a management position for publicly held WESCO International Inc., a northern Indiana-based firm at which he last was director and general manager for the manufactured structures unit of the distributor of electrical, plumbing... Read more

Gov. Pence To Keynote May 12 Power Breakfast

January 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann addresses capacity crowd at last year’s Power Breakfast (Photo by Shawn Spence) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will keynote the first half of this year’s 4th Annual RV Industry Power Breakfast, a fast-paced, information-rich event catering to early-rising recreational vehicle industry constituents along with civic and business leaders. The Power Breakfast is slated for May 12 from 7-9:45 a.m. at the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Northern Indiana Event Center in the RV-building... Read more

OPINION: Remember, It’s About The Adventure!

January 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Full-timers Ryan McCready and Kim Thomas check out the selection of RVs in Tampa with their Goldendoodle companion Jet RV industry people understandably spend the bulk of their time absorbed in conversations about the merits of things like hitch weights and interior decors, awnings and tag-axles. But many of us probably lose track at times on a personal level of the real-life consumers in whose hands all of these recreational vehicles eventually wind up. With that in mind, we visited with a few RV... Read more

Tampa RV Show Generates Cautious Optimism

January 19, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Supplier booths were jammed at Tampa Show The general mood of RV industry exhibitors at the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Florida RV SuperShow was decidedly upbeat regarding prospects for 2016, although tempered in some cases with realistic concerns about any number of factors – from interest rates to national elections to an unpredictable stock market. Tim Hyland, president of the RV Group for GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finanance unit, said most of the measurable indicators... Read more

‘Born Free 2.0’ Draws Impressive Tampa Crowd

January 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Born Free Reign Class C at Tampa SuperShow The crowds that converged last week on the Born Free Motorcoach display during public days (Jan. 13-17) of the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) 2016 Florida RV SuperShow served notice that the small 47-year-old Humboldt, Iowa motorhome builder co-founded by John N. Dodgen – a coach-building pioneer and inventor who passed away in August — is here to stay under new ownership and a new CEO. That’s the message that Jeff Butler, now president... Read more

Camping World Raises Stakes in RV Aftermarket

January 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

John Sirpilla At a time of unparalleled change in the RV parts and accessories aftermarket segment of the North American RV industry, major retailer Camping World Inc. (CWI) is laying the groundwork for a big wholesale aftermarket expansion move utilizing the Illinois-based company’s existing National RV Supply sister division “to ensure that independent dealers across the country are offered fair and competitive prices in light of the recent RV aftermarket consolidations.” Camping World’s... Read more

Keystone Automotive: ‘RVB Newsmaker of Year’

December 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Keystone Automotive VP and General Manager Bill Rogers There were plenty of high profile breaking news stories that captured the public’s eye in 2015, including protracted management changes at Winnebago Industries Inc., the arrival of new Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer and the recent sale of GE Capital to Wells Fargo & Co. Consolidation, at the same time, continued to reshape the North American RV marketplace in a big way over the past year. For instance:   ... Read more

New Gulf Stream Class C’s Tailored for Families

December 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Gulf Stream Conquest Class C Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has returned to the motorized RV business after a three-year hiatus with the debut of two 2016 Class C’s bearing familiar Gulf Stream brand names – BT Cruiser and Conquest – nameplates that the Nappanee, Ind., RV manufacturer hasn’t utilized since stepping away from the motorized arena in 2012 in the wake of the recession. With the general renaissance of the RV market, Director of Marketing Paul Campbell said Gulf Stream’s management felt... Read more

REV Recreation Group Revives American Dream

December 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

American Coach Dream Class A diesel by REV REV Recreation Group, manufacturer of Fleetwood RV, American Coach, Holiday Rambler and Monaco Class A motorhomes, reintroduced the American Coach Dream Class A brand at the Louisville Show, showing both 42- and 45-foot models of an upscale diesel coach built on the company’s customized “Liberty Bridge” Freightliner chassis. The new Dream models shown at Louisville, retailing for MSRP’s of $464,235 and $531,735 respectively, are part of a 2016 American... Read more

Opinion: Louisville Show Drawing Mixed Reviews

December 7, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

Dealers check out supplier booths at Louisville Now that we’re all back in the saddle from a busy week at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 53rd Annual National RV Trade Show, Dec. 1-3 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, a quiet debate continues to simmer among industry insiders regarding the viability of the venerable “Louisville Show.” Of course, the debate’s been percolating for awhile in the offices and restaurants of the RV manufacturing hub of Elkhart,... Read more

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