Bankston Motor Homes, an Alabama-based dealership founded 43 years ago, is expanding with a new facility in service facility in Ardmore, Tenn., bringing new jobs to the area.
AL.com reported that Bankston Motor Homes, which currently operates Alabamas store in Huntsville, Florence and Albertville along with an outlet in Nashville, Tenn., will open the RV service and repair facility later this year in a former Clayton Homes complex. The site will include three buildings with 104,000 square feet of multi-use space on an 8.5-acre tract. The company also owns property across the street for future development. The RV dealership did not disclose a purchase price or how much it has invested in the new facility.
“Bankston Motor Homes is proud to be a part of the Ardmore community,” said Harrison Bankston, president of Bankston Motor Homes, in a prepared statement. “I am excited about the opportunity this new facility will afford us. It will enable us not only to continue to deliver essential repair services, but it will also provide enough space for continued expansion into other areas important to our RV customers.”
In addition to providing maintenance, body shop work and assistance with RV insurance claims, the Ardmore facility will have a large indoor storage space for owners to park their RVs during the off season to prevent damage from weather.
Eric and Paula Twitchell of Huntsville, Ala., walked up the stairs of the Allegro Breeze 28-foot motorhome Sunday afternoon (Feb. 20) during the annual Alabama RV Super Show at the Von Braun Center’s South Hall in Huntsville, Ala., The Huntsville Times reported.
Paula sort of stood in the doorway, but Eric walked through the vehicle’s kitchen/lounge area back to the bedroom. He appeared to be mesmerized as he gazed all over the inside of the fancy motorhome, or maybe that was just stars in his eyes.
“I’ve got champagne tastes on a water budget,” Eric said with smile. “Man, this is the way to go and live.
“We had a boat, a pontoon camper that was part barge. Before that, we had a sailboat, so we like being on the water. But we’re looking to park on the land for a while.
“What’s the gas mileage for these?” he asked Bankston Motor Homes manager Tim McCarthy.
“Oh, about 12 to 14 miles a gallon,” McCarthy said.
And what did Paula think?
“When you have a boat, you have to swim to shore with the dogs (to go to the bathroom),” she said, laughing. “In one of these, you just go to the back.”
We all know how important clean – and easily reachable – bathrooms are to women, right? So, Eric may be in luck.
They were just two of the many people who were checking out all of the luxury motorhomes, fifth-wheels, pull-behinds, campers and other vendors as the three-day RV show came to a close.
With all the motorhomes jammed inside, the South Hall looked like the parking lot of an Alabama or Auburn football game. There were 45-foot motorhomes in the $475,000 range to 36-footers for $170,000 to even small campers for much less money.
One of the newest ideas for this year’s show is the Breeze, the nation’s first 28-foot diesel motorhome ever designed from Tiffin Motorhomes Inc. of Red Bay. McCarthy said it can be for people who have owned a larger motorhome in the past and now want to downsize. The 28-footer is a little easier to handle on the road and park in the RV parks than some of its bigger counterparts. It also has its engine in the back, giving it the diesel pusher distinction.
The Breeze retails for $140,000 to $155,000, McCarthy said.
Diesel is actually more expensive than gas now, so what’s the advantage?
“We got a 39-foot Fleetwood gas motorhome and we should have bought diesel,” said Mike Chapman of Huntsville, who was at the RV show. “On the road, it wobbles with the wind and when trucks pass you.
“Diesels are heavier and push you. We took the grandkids up to Mount Rushmore and the diesels were whizzing past us. I thought I was going to have to get out and push. Gas motorhomes don’t have the torque that diesels do, that’s the biggest difference.”
McCarthy and Gene Benson, who has been at Bankston for 12 years, said the motorhome industry is surviving the downturn in the economy, many buying the motorhomes to tailgate at college football games. During the RV show, Bankston sold 16 to 18 motorhomes, Benson said.
“We’ve survived the good, bad and ugly,” McCarthy said. “It’s coming back.”
Lazydays in Seffner, Fla., has been named Tiffin Motorhomes’ No. 1 dealer for 2010. The Red Bay, Ala.-based Class A motorhome manufacturer announced its top dealers today (Aug. 23) in a news release.
Lazydays opened in 1976 in a mobile home on a leased 1.75-acre lot with two travel trailers in inventory and $500 in capital. In 1996, Lazydays moved into its 126-acre SuperCenter, which has more than 1,000 motorized and towable RVs on display, 273 service bays and a 300-site RV park.
The other Top Tiffin Dealers for 2010 are Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores in Sante Fe Springs, Cal.; La Mesa RV in San Diego, Cal.; North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, Fla.;, Davis Motorhome Mart in Memphis, Tenn.; Horizon Lussier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Bankston Motor Homes in Huntsville, Ala.; Dixie RV SuperStores, in Hammond, La.; Vogt RV Centers USA in Fort Worth, Texas; Colton RV in North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Marlin Ingram RV Center in Montgomery, Ala.; and Bucars RV Center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Tiffin Motorhomes, founded in 1972, received one of three prestigious 2009 Quality Circle Awards presented by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) to Class A motorhome manufacturers for design, reliability, quality, value and competitive price.
Tiffin has earned the Quality Circle Award 11 of the 14 years it has been presented by the RVDA in connection with its Dealer Satisfaction Index. The 2009 survey included 1,644 brand ratings from 322 dealers. Quality Circle Awards are made to manufacturers receiving at least 15 dealer responses and scoring at least 80% in overall dealer satisfaction.
In addition to the consumer-related categories of the survey, Tiffin also was recognized with the Quality Circle Award for exemplary warranty, parts, sales and communications support to dealerships.
For additional information including dealer locations visit www.tiffinmotorhomes.com.