Custom RV Inc., a full-service dealership in the lightweight, travel trailer market, is holding the grand opening for its new facility in Ontario, Calif. According to a press release, the event will run July 12-14 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
After 12 years at its former location in Anaheim, Calif., Custom RV has moved to a larger and more conveniently located property in Ontario to expand its footprint by more than five times, allowing significant increases in inventory, a much larger service department and room for future growth. In moving to the new location, formerly known as Carl’s Acres of Trailers, Custom RV was able to ensure that the signature property remained within the RV industry.
“We are very pleased about the new location and all the potential it has. It enables us to provide a broader range of services so that we are better able to meet our customers’ RV and camping needs,” says Scott Eickhoff, general manager of Custom RV. “Being located in Ontario, the ‘gateway to Southern California,’ also makes us more accessible to our customer base.”
Highlights of the three-day open house event include special discounts, free 80-watt solar panel with all new trailer purchases, vendor-sponsored raffle for two 32-inch TVs and industry vendors and give-aways.
A full-service dealership with factory-trained technicians, Custom RV sells new and pre-owned trailers as well as trailers on consignment. The new facility allows for an expanding parts store and has enough room to accommodate trailer storage as an option to its customers. The new, larger service area also allows Custom RV to keep more parts in stock, as well as shorten the lead time on obtaining service appointments. The customer parking area has also increased.
“The new lot is great – the main reason we moved is to carry a larger inventory. We now offer a greater variety of models and ultimately have a wider selection for our customers to choose from, so they can get exactly what they are looking for,” says Matt Thacker, sales manager at Custom RV. “In this case, bigger is definitely better – in every instance. And, it’s so easy to spot us – the 40-foot cowboy from Carl’s Acres is a welcome addition to the Custom RV family.”
A webinar sponsored by the RV Learning Center and KPA is designed to show California dealers how to become compliant with new legislation, according to a press release.
The recent passage of Assembly Bill 1396 requires all California employers paying employees on a commission basis to provide a written agreement or pay plan to those employees. The webinar, provided to dealers at no cost, is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 9 a.m. (PST) and will help dealers learn the critical steps necessary to get started on implementing the new pay plans.
Dealers need to develop a system to regulate how pay plans are drafted, determine who has authority to distribute them and develop a system to ensure compliance with the signature and receipt requirements. The webinar, presented by KPA, will address the very specific requirements these pay plans have regarding what needs to be included and defined. The webinar will be conducted by attorney John Boggs whose practices has focused on representing dealerships in employment law issues.
If dealers are unable to attend at the scheduled time, register by clicking here to receive links and materials for later viewing. For additional information, contact Becky Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org, (866) 356-1735 or Karin Van Duyse at the RV Learning Center at email@example.com or (703) 591-7130.
Spurred by the RV industry’s resurgence and a subsequent jump in sales over the past year, Southern California dealer Giant RV is poised to begin construction on a new dealership in Indio.
“We are back in expansion mode,” Frankie Barouti, vice president of Giant RV, told RVBUSINESS.com. “Business is strong and we see the opportunity to grow.”
Barouti reported that the 26-year-old company, which currently operates stores in Murietta, Colton, Corona and its home base in Montclair, also has long-term plans to open its first location in Orange County – a hotbed for RV dealers. Currently Giant RV, led by President Bob Barouti, employs approximately 270 people.
Situated on six acres in California’s Palm Desert region with immediate access to Interstate 10, the Indio property was purchased by Giant RV around seven years ago. Frankie Barouti said that initial landscaping was implemented after the land was secured, but the industry’s downturn delayed further construction.
“We brought in over 190 truck loads of dirt, bringing the land eye level with the 10 freeway,” he said. “It’s a great location, right next to the Auto Mall and in an area where there’s only one other dealership. We see a lot of potential.”
Giant RV is currently testing the market, operating a makeshift sales center from a suite of mobile offices and a huge tent area.
“Right now we’re just finalizing everything for construction,” Barouti said. “All the permits are in place and we’re talking to contractors.”
Giant RV’s vision, however, is well beyond the blueprint stage with completion projected for the fall.
“We are building a true state-of-the-art facility,” Barouti said. “The main building will be 5,000 square feet that will include sales and a full-service repair center with 14 bays. It’s going to based on the same design and upscale feel of our other stores.”
Barouti related that Giant RV is known as one of the premier dealers for toy haulers in the country and was a forerunner in the decidedly West Coast influence that fueled the sector’s rapid growth.
“We really dominated the toy hauler market over the last year 9 1/2 years,” he said, noting that the retailer sells a full range of new and used RVs. “Even during the downturn, we were able to bring in some of the hottest brands like Eclipse RV’s Attitude and the Cyclone from Heartland. We also added CrossRoad’s towable line.”
He added, “We’re back on it – doing what we do best – and are looking for another strong year. We think it’s a great time to expand and we see Indio as a great location for Giant RV.”
Multi-location dealer Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores was ranked as California’s No. 1 dealer in unit sales for 2012, according to figures compiled by the California Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
Representatives for the association noted that the totals, collected from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, reflected registrations for new RVs. Sales figures from Statistical Surveys Inc. have not yet been tabulated for the full year.
In a press release, Mike Thompson’s RV claimed the top ranking in motorhomes, towables and overall sales for the state.
“Finding out we are once again the customer choice of RV dealers in California is a huge accomplishment for the staff of Mike Thompson’s RV,” said Mark Rosenbaum, general manager for Mike Thompson’s RV. “I often talk about the staff as family. We operate every single day with the same goal and that is to provide the best possible experience for our customers. We are a focused team from our detail department, sales staff, accounting office, management group, service department and trusted manufacturers.”
He added, “A third party survey by Muse Surveys, (Riverside, Calif.) completed in December 2012 shows on average 95% of our customers would purchase from us again or recommend us to a friend.”
For more information visit www.mikethompson.com.
All Seasons RV is developing a second showroom in Yuba City, Calif., according to a report by the Appeal-Democrat, Marysville.
Next month, the county planning commission is scheduled to see a proposal for the recreational vehicle dealer to add a showroom to a parts-and-service on Yuba City’s western edge.
Company owner Ernie Friesen said adding a showroom there will be in addition to the lot on the northwest corner of highways 99 and 20, a high-visibility location. “What we’re planning on doing is having multiple sales locations,” he said, adding All Seasons always planned to have a showroom at the service site, but held off during the original development for financial reasons.
The commission will vote on an amendment to Friesen’s original proposal. Friesen said adding a showroom will involve paving about three acres and adding lighting, costing about $1.5 million.
He said having two showrooms was based on the experience of owning Redding RV, which does strong business with two showrooms in that city.
Sutter County planner Steve Geiger said the proposal is in a public-review period, with a full staff report to be written before the commission’s meeting.
While Geiger said the county will support the project, one potential sticking point will be the extra lighting to show off the vehicles. “I think we can work through the potential issues,” he said.
Another potential issue, increased traffic at the Colusa site, could actually be less of a problem, Geiger said. When people buy a new RV from the site at 99/20 now, the vehicles are often transported to the other site for inspections or other work, then back. That step won’t be necessary for RVs bought at the expanded site.
Sales of big-ticket items like RVs slumped in recent years, especially after the housing bust sapped people’s ability to buy such items easily.
Friesen said while sales haven’t returned to boom levels, All Seasons did see a boost when it developed a website. He said his store is now selling vehicles across California, as well as to prospective buyers in Oregon and Nevada.
The California RV Dealers Association (CalRVDA) testified this week against a bill that would have put a “sunset date” on the state’s New Motor Vehicle Board, which would have effectively abolished the board.
According to a press release, after lobbying legislators over the past two weeks and testimony by the California New Car Dealers Association, the state’s motorcycle dealers association and CalRVDA, the bill was denied passage by the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Policy Committee.
CalRVDA was the driving force behind placing the RV industry (dealers and manufacturers) into the state board’s jurisdiction. RV dealers wanted to have their disputes with manufacturers adjudicated at an in-state forum and by knowledgeable staff and law judges instead of hiring attorneys and pursuing their claims in various superior courts throughout California.
“CalRVDA’s mission is to represent, enhance, and protect RV dealerships and maintaining a visible presence in the Capitol is a significant part of enabling us to achieve that mission,” said CalRVDA Executive Director Skip Daum.
Sky River RV is hosting the East Bay RV Expo “Spring Showcase” from March 9-18 at its new dealership in Dublin, Calif., which opened last November.
“We will be showcasing some of the latest RVs that have just been released from the industry’s finest manufacturers. It’s a great atmosphere and experience for first-time or experienced RV buyers,” Managing Partner Scott Thorpe of Sky River RV said.
The event will offer new and pre-owned RVs that cover the entire RV spectrum, as well as the opportunity for customers to see the A to Z of RVs in one convenient location. Technicians will also be available to answer questions.
The Dublin facility sports a three-plus acre showroom, including a 65,000 square-foot expansion, and over six acres of outdoor display. Sky River RV operates a service and parts department in Livermore in addition to its full-service stores in Dublin, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach.
For more information about the “Spring Showcase” RV Expo, visit http://www.bayarearvexpo.com.
Traveland USA, one of the nation’s first one-stop shops for recreational vehicles and services, and a fixture in Irvine, Calif., for nearly four decades, is about to close its gates for good.
The Orange County Register reported that Traveland USA decided not to extend the lease on the 38-acre parcel that it has occupied off the 5 Freeway since 1973.
“The Traveland site was always intended to transition to a more permanent use upon lease expiration,” said Erin Freeman, Irvine Co. spokeswoman, in a statement Monday (March 5). “We believe transitioning to a longer-term use will better serve the city, its residents and those who come to work in Irvine.”
She said the Irvine Co. is exploring various options for the site and has nothing immediate to announce.
The city of Irvine and the Irvine Chamber of Commerce both tried to find another location in the city for Traveland to move to but without success. It is unclear whether Traveland as a business will continue. The owners could not be reached for comment.
Traveland was built around a frontier days theme and was as much a family entertainment destination as it was an RV mall. Weekends often saw 1,400 cars come through the gates, many loaded with families who would picnic at the duck pond and enjoy entertainment at the nearby gazebo.
And it was a roaring success. During an eight-year stretch in the 1980s, 50,000 RVs, travel trailers, vans, camper shells and tent trailers worth $500 million were sold.
Now it is a virtual ghost town. The main office, with its brick red wood siding and white trim stands vacant. Other buildings have been boarded up.
The Orange County Register reported that El Toro RV, which services recreational vehicles, moved out at the first of the year for new premises on Atlantic Ocean Drive in Lake Forest. That left McMahon’s RV, which has been at Traveland since 1994, as the last dealer at the park.
Mike Lankford, McMahon’s vice president, noted that after all the ups and downs the RV industry has gone through – and even with the current rising gas prices – Traveland is closing just as business is picking up steam again. He said McMahon’s sold 144 vehicles at a show over the weekend.
McMahon’s will be moving to another undisclosed location site in Orange County within the next few months, Lankford said.
Traveland had been due to close in 2001 when its lease expired. But the Irvine Co. extended the lease three times. After so many extensions, the fact the RV park is really finally closing has come as somewhat of a surprise.
Word of the closure has brought former workers back for a last-time look at their old haunt.
“In 1986, it was my first sales job,” reminisced Mark Rosenbaum, now sales director at Mike Thompson’s RV, which relocated from Traveland to Fountain Valley in 1993.
He dropped by a few weeks ago.
“My wife and kids used to come out and feed the ducks,” he recalled.
It was a unique place and experience, one he said that will likely never be repeated in Orange County again.