A major recreational vehicle dealer in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is going on permanent holiday — but the business is going nowhere but up.
The Waterloo Cedar Falls-Courier reported that Jim Fogdall concluded 50 years in the RV business last week by closing the sale of his family business, Ace Fogdall RV, which was named for his father. The company is going to Camping World of Lincolnshire, Ill., which is launching a $1 million renovation of the Cedar Falls location and hiring staff.
Virtually all the employees will be retained, according to Fogdall. He is retiring because of his wife Judy’s health, however, and their daughter and general manager, Sara Fogdall Miller, is stepping away from the business. She intends to devote more time to her family, including two sons ages 7 and 11.
“I’m thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had,” said Fogdall, whose family has been in the automobile and RV business for 80 years.
Ace Fogdall started in RVs in 1963 and Jim worked alongside his father for 20 years.
“When the time came to retire and sell the business, I was fortunate to find a buyer that … would employ all my present staff,” Fogdall said. “One of my biggest objectives was to sell the business with a good feeling.”
Don King, a Fogdall employee for 28 years, is now the store general manager.
“I personally have a lot of admiration for the Fogdall family,” King said.
Camping World signs are on the business. A liquidation sale of Fogdall inventory is underway — parts and RVs — to make room for the new owner. The parts, sales and service departments are open.
The reconfigured sales area boasts 9,000 square feet of floor space, according to King.
“We retained 95% of the employees, plus we have already hired nine new employees,” he added.
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Camping World Inc. and Good Sam Enterprises Inc. announced the signing of an agreement to acquire Ace Fogdall RV, an existing RV dealership in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in the next 30 to 45 days.
According to a press release, plans are for the location to undergo a massive expansion to renovate into a larger facility including additional service bays, a new Camping World retail store and a state of the art collision center. Camping World currently has nearby Midwest area supercenters in Madison, Wis., Chicago, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and three locations in Missouri.
“We are pleased to begin the acquisition of Ace Fogdall RV and expand our market share throughout Iowa and the greater Midwest area,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam. “For over 50 years, the Fogdall family has proudly served the Cedar Falls area with top-notch service and the best products. Jim Fogdall is a pioneer in the RV industry and has been chairman of the board of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association and inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The Fogdall family’s achievements speak volumes of the legacy they have made in the community that we are proud to continue.”
The supercenter, officially named Camping World of Cedar Falls, is the second full-service location in Iowa and will offer a wide array of RV sales, service, collision, parts and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. It will also feature motorhomes and towables from high profile manufacturers along with an array of products and accessories. Camping World also carries and creates its own private label lines of exclusive products for the RV, outdoor and home markets.
Lemonis continued, “We expect the Midwest market to allow us to broaden our customer reach, build upon our market leadership position in recreational vehicle sales, and make Camping World the leading retailer in the growing outdoor market.”
The new store in the Cedar Falls market will add to Camping World’s future growth plans and the company expects to soon announce several additional markets of expansion throughout the country. Camping World of Cedar Falls will also be adding additional positions for seasoned and professional RV sales associates, technicians, and retail support as the facility expands and is pleased to have the current employees at the Fogdall RV location join the Camping World staff.
College juniors Ross Albert and Johnathon Miles are the latest recipients of $2,500 scholarships from the RV Learning Center Scholarship Program, which is endowed through The Kindlund Family Foundation.
Albert is majoring in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University and hopes to research alternative fuels for diesel engines. His sponsor is Ace Fogdall RV, Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Miles is studying accounting and finance at Niagara University. He has worked in RV dealerships for five years and wants to help more families buy RVs. His sponsor is Colton RV, North Tonawanda, N.Y., where he currently works.
“Ross and Johnathan are excellent students. They are working hard in school to advance themselves and help build a better future for the RV industry,” said Newt Kindlund.
The RV Learning Center Scholarship Program recognizes deserving rising college sophomores, juniors and seniors. Applicants are judged on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and honors, RV industry involvement, financial need and a 500-word essay. The program has awarded more than $50,000 to 20 students since its inception in 2000.
The Kindlund family, which endowed the scholarship program with $270,000, remains active in the RV industry even after selling its corporation, Holiday RV Superstores, in 1999. Newt Kindlund serves on the board of directors of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Education Foundation.
Five men who played key roles in the development of the modern day RV industry were among those inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., Monday night (Aug.2) as part of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s Class of 2010.
During a 90-minute ceremony that featured equal parts of entertainment, nostalgia and inspiration, the new inductees reminisced before an audience of nearly 350 people.
Heritage Foundation Chairman Lon Larson welcomed the audience and received an award in recognition of his service, while B.J. Thompson, chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) spoke briefly on the RV Centennial celebration held on June 7 at the Hall of Fame and encouraged the audience to continue to mark the centennial throughout the rest of the year.
And in a surprise turn of events prior to the induction ceremony, as RVBUSINESS.com reported earlier, the foundation presented its Spirit Award to Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president of communications and chief marketing officer, who took the opportunity Monday night to announce his early retirement after 32 years with the trade group.
Here’s a few highlights of the inductees’ remarks:
Rex Floyd, Floyd’s RV, Norman, Okla., joked at the outset,” I thought you had to be dead to get in it!” He said the RV industry has treated him well over the 40 years that he has been part of it and thanked the staff of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) for its hard work through the years. Floyd served 12 years on the RVDA board and was a leader in the early years in organizing a national marketing program which evolved into today’s Go RVing campaign. He was the first dealer to receive RVDA’s Jim Summers award.
Jim Fogdall, Ace Fogdall RV, Cedar Falls, Iowa, said the first award he ever received was “a cherry pie from a satisfied service customer.” He said his parents, who started the company, “stressed customer care and hard work” as keys to success. Now run by the third generation of the Fogdall family, the dealership has been profitable in each of its 77 years. He thanked the RVDA, The Spader Co. and praised the 20 Groups that allowed him to interact with – and learn from — other successful dealers.
Don Lougheed, RV Group Inc., Austin, Texas, thanked “God and thousands of friends and associates since he started his business in 1963.” Loughheed gave credit to a number of RVDA pioneers, such as Hilton Fitt-Peaster and Jim Summers, and the late Bill Gorman, an industry consultant whoLougheed called his “idol who taught dealers how to sell RVs.” He also recognized manufacturing legends such as Winnebago Industries Inc.’s John K. Hanson, Holiday Rambler Corp.’s Richard Klinger and Airstream Inc.’s Wally Byam.
Carl Pfalzgraf, Atwood Mobile Products, Elkhart, Ind., recounted his early years as “a troubled teen” who built cars and drag racers and told how he joined Atwood in 1965 and spent his career as “an apprentice,” soaking up knowledge from those around him. He served 18 years on the RVIA board, the last two as board chairman, and called his industry service “a career within a career.”
Clarence T. Yoder, Carriage Inc. Millersburg, Ind., an Elkhart County legend who was sporting his trademark hat, lived up to his reputation as a man of few words. One of 15 children in an Amish family, he quit school at an early age and went to work sweeping floors at a nearby factory. He led his company, Carriage Inc., for 30 years and had a primary role in research and development. He pioneered seamless fiberglass end caps, motorized slideouts on fifth-wheels and developed the first flat floor for fifth-wheels with no step up to the bedroom. He holds several patents.
Inductees from the manufactured housing industry were Raymond F. Bassett, Jim Boyts, Jerry Haggadone, Morris Hylton Jr., Jess Maxcy and Jeff Wick. Bassett and Boyts are deceased.
A total of 14 foursomes competed earlier in the day in the charity golf tournament. The shotgun tournament was won by the team of Doug Bassett, Steve Bassett, Brian Younkin and Rick Grise.