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New Alpin Haus Retail Store Won’t Sell RVs

March 2, 2010 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

Outdoor retailer Alpin Haus will open a store in May in the Clifton Park Center in Clifton Park, N.Y., according to the Albany Times-Union.

The 6,000-square-foot store will sell ski and snowboarding equipment, and swimming pool equipment. The new store replaces the Alpin Haus location on nearby Sitterly Road, but unlike that store, it won’t sell RVs.

Alpin Haus, which is one of the nation’s largest RV dealers, has additional locations in Amsterdam (where it’s headquartered) and Wilton.

DCG Development Co. bought Clifton Park Center in 2006, and has been remaking the mall in the years since.

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Alpin Haus Repositioning RV Supply Channels

December 7, 2009 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

Alpin Haus logoAlpin Haus, the Amsterdam, N.Y.-based retailer of skis, pools, hot tubs and recreational vehicles, said it plans to open two new locations in the next four to 12 months.

One, in Saratoga County, will replace its existing store in Clifton Park. Another will be located outside the Capital Region, although the company hasn’t yet announced a location, according to the Albany Times Union.

Alpin Haus has four local retail outlets: in Clifton Park, in Gansevoort and two in the Amsterdam area.

The company said the new Saratoga County store will focus on pool sales and service, as well as skis and snowboards, but will no longer carry recreational vehicles.

RV business will be channeled to the Route 5S location west of Amsterdam. The Gansevoort location also carries RVs.

“We are optimistic about future business opportunities based on the current trends in two of our major revenue generating areas,” said Andy Heck, Alpin Haus’ president. “This strategic plan for 2010 and beyond will allow us to take advantage of the burgeoning demand for basic winter and summer recreational equipment, plus will afford us the opportunity to strategically reposition our RV supply channels.

“Our goal is to simultaneously increase our RV inventory and reduce the sales overlap that currently exists,” he said.

The Clifton Park store will be replaced by next spring.

The company employs 150 people and plans to add jobs with its expansion, Heck said.

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Alpin Haus: RV Customers ‘More Optimistic’

May 15, 2009 by RV Business · Leave a Comment 

A sudden spike in sales has Andy Heck, the president of Alpin Haus, an RV dealership in Amsterdam, N.Y., thrilled that business is booming again.

“All of a sudden, we had to double our work force based on demand in two weeks. Out of the blue, one day it just started going crazy,” said Heck.

What’s even crazier is that travel experts and economists are watching RV sales very closely and Heck knows why, according to WRGB-TV, Albany.

“As our industry starts to rebound, it’s a good sign for other industries,” he said.

Travel expert Eric Stigberg over at AAA in Schenectady agrees.

“It’s certainly a part of it. People want to see what they can afford,” said Stigberg.

The boost in RV business is indicating that many are opting for the ‘Staycation’  - a more affordable close to home vacation – this summer.

“Travel is something everyone needs to do. If they missed out on it last year, they’re not going to miss two years in a row,” said Stigberg.

The biggest indicator the RV business is giving may not even be in the travel industry, it may be on the economy. With many opting for the staycation, economists believe that’s a good indicator that people are putting feelers out to see if it’s alright to spend again.

“So many were frozen last year and paralyzed as what to do in the recession,” said Heck. “We’re seeing the mood of the customer a lot different this spring. They’re still concerned but thinking, ‘I kind of weathered the storm.’ They are more optimistic.”

Alpin Haus was named one of the Top 50 RV Dealers in America by RVBusiness magazine and was one of the top five Blue Ribbon honorees.

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Alpin Haus: ‘Like A Switch Went On Again’

May 4, 2009 by RV Business · 2 Comments 

During the winter, sales at Alpin Haus, an RV dealership  in Amsterdam, N.Y., were somewhat stagnant, but when April came it was “like a switch went on again,” says President Andy Heck.

Still, Heck said the news this spring is both good and bad, according to The Leader-Herald, Gloversville.

“It’s kind of a mixed bag,” he said, noting Alpin Haus is slowly transitioning into its “true summer season.”

Alpin Haus, which last year was selected as one of the top 50 recreation vehicle dealers in America by RV Business magazine, sells many other types of big ticket items.

“April has been very good for RVs, boats and pools,” Heck said. “It’s actually pacing better than the past. It’s definitely a lot more dollars (being spent).”

Heck said towable vehicles are “going great,” but sales of motorhomes are lagging.

He said he believes people are buying more boats, pools and towable RVs with the intention to stay in the region. But he said sales of motorhomes, in which people tend to travel long distances away from home, aren’t doing as well.

“That still has been challenging,” Heck said. “There’s still a little buyer’s uncertainty.”

He’s hoping that “switch” stays on for a long time.

“People think maybe we’re better off in the economy and things are starting to pick up again, maybe,” Heck said.

Dougie Aguilera, a sales consultant at Brown’s Ford in nearby Johnstown, said the consumer’s shopping habits can be volatile.

“I think it’s like a rollercoaster,” he said.

Aguilera said he believes what triggered the nation’s economic decline wasn’t necessarily an uncertain housing market, but the $4.25 per gallon gas prices last summer.

He said his dealership found then that people didn’t want to purchase the SUVs, pickup and work trucks that are needed for this area.

“People held off and were scared,” he said.

But now that gas prices are about half what they were in 2008, he said things are “picking up” at Brown’s Ford.

“I think people put things on hold,” Aguilera said.

Sales of the four-wheel drive trucks that are so important to the area are on the rise again, he said.

“In the last several months, there’s been a renewed demand,” Aguilera said.

Sales tax revenues in Fulton County — where Amsterdam and Johnstown are located —  jumped by about $228,000 for the first quarter of the year from a year ago, so people are apparently starting to spend more money locally on consumer goods. The city of Johnstown, realized a $164,862 increase for the first quarter from the same period a year ago.

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RVDA Takes Middle Road on Buy-Back Issue

April 10, 2009 by RV Business · 3 Comments 

The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) contends that its hands are tied with regard to the issue of RV manufacturers being forced — under various circumstances — to buy back product from dealers.
So the national trade association, based in Fairfax, Va., isn’t taking a concrete stand one way or the other in what is becoming a major issues within the RV industry.
”We are a national dealers association made up of dealers from many states,”  said RVDA Chairman Larry Troutt, owner of Toppers Camping Center in Waller, Texas, in a Q&A session with RVBusiness due for publication next month. ”It’s not our position to take a position on what the states do.”
In a March 9 letter to RVDA President Mike Molino, Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), asked RVDA to  support amending or defeating ”buy back” legislation pending in 17 states, warning that RV manufacturers and dealers alike could be put out of business by the slew of legislation. 
However,  Molino immediately dismissed the request and has continued to do so as recently as a meeting held this week.
At issue are what RVIA characterizes as onerous provisions requiring inventory, in some cases regardless of age, to be repurchased by manufacturers ”with or without cause,” along with ”blue sky” requirements that would mandate manufacturers to compensate dealers for the value of their businesses and ”facilities assistance” for up to three years.  
”The dealers in the different states will take initiatives (that) we will support, possibly reinforce, at their request,” Troutt told RVBusiness. ”But we do not think it is appropriate to take initiatives as a national dealer organization that would cause dealers in different states to have to abide by some ‘law’ that they didn’t initiate or address themselves within their states. It’s a state’s rights thing.
”I’m not aware of any (dealer) who disagrees with that.”
RVDA Treasurer Andy Heck, president of Alpin Haus, Amsterdam, N.Y., said coordinating state laws would be too large a task for RVDA to muster.
”Each state has different laws,” Heck said. ”(Buy back laws) just happen to be one of them. For RVDA to get involved at the state level would be a gigantic task.”
Debbie Brunoforte, RVDA 1st vice chairman and owner of Little Dealer, Little Prices in Mesa, Ariz., said dealers are ”reasonable (and) fair-minded” and that manufacturers should communicate directly with dealers about state laws that concern them.
”The difference between RVIA and RVDA is that most of the manufacturers are in Indiana and a couple of other places,” Brunoforte said. ”Yet, (RVs) are retailed throughout the entire country. So RVIA has to have a more political view and I understand that. At RVDA, we have dealers in every single state, and we’ve always felt that dealers in a particular state should choose how they want to do business.”

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