Four Alberta, Canada, RV dealers banded together 22 days ago to help with the flood relief effort in Southern Alberta by donating $1,000 from every RV sold at their dealerships, according to a press release. James Epp, spokesman for the four companies, announced that donations have now reached the $185,000 mark.
The four like-minded Alberta RV dealers – Fraserway RV Calgary, Fraserway RV Edmonton, Lacombe RV, and Roadmaster RV in Leduc – aim to raise $300,000 during the four-week period running from June 23 to July 21.
All the funds raised will be donated to the nonprofit organizations Samaritan’s Purse Canada or Canadian Red Cross. Volunteers with these charities have been working tirelessly to help Southern Albertans who are displaced or in crisis after extensive flooding ravaged their communities on June 21.
The release stated that “these four RV dealers are honored to support the efforts of the volunteers as they help local residents recoup their properties and return their lives to normalcy.”
RV Care network of dealers is holding its national sale of RV parts and suppliers this week with over 40 dealers across Canada are participating. According to a press release, the event opened last Friday and will run through May 20 during Canada’s Victoria Day extended weekend.
RV Care said that a selection of popular products are featured at excellent retail prices in all participating locations. In addition each location has their own in-store specials and spring service specials to help customers prepare for the start of the Canadian RV season.
“We’re a national dealer network so it makes sense to offer our customers a national sale,” said Don Sneyd of Ruston RV Center in Burlington, Ontario. “Using our collective volume, and working with our partners at Coast and Dometic, we’re pleased to provide our customers with the best prices they’ll see all year on products they need to start the season.”
Parts managers and dealers throughout the network will be utilizing marketing materials provided by RV Care in store while also promoting the event on their websites and sending emails/mail-outs to their customers. “Being part of something bigger truly is better when it means we can provide our customers with the best prices on products they want and need,” said Peter McAuliffe, parts manager at Vellner Leisure Products in Red Deer, Alberta.
In addition to the local advertising by the dealers, all national online advertising done by RV Care has been converted to promote the sale. Website activity has spiked as a result indicating strong interest and the potential for strong sales over the next 10 days.
The RV Care network is the largest network of independent RV dealers with locations across Canada that are committed to helping the traveling customers of all RV Care and Priority RV Network dealerships.
In less than 30 days, the ROUTE 66 RV Network in Canada has grown to 15 locations that represent over $100 million in RV sales, parts and service. And, according to a press release, the group continues to strengthen.
Rob Merrill, ROUTE 66 partner, noted, “Quality dealers attract quality dealers. Not only are these Canadian dealers very solid business operators with impressive dealerships, they have been serving their community’s RVing needs, on the average, for over 32 years. That’s certainly reassuring to customers knowing that they’ll be there when they need them.”
In the last couple of weeks ROUTE 66 has added five new locations in Canada, including:
• Smith’s RV Centre – Jason Johnstone – Thunder Bay, Ontario
• Outdoor Travel – Ken & Andy Whiting – Hamilton, Ontario
• Roulettes A.S. Levesque – Andre Levesque – Ste-Helenes/Trios-Rivieres, Quebec
• Roulettes Gilbert – Andre Levesque – Chateauguay, Quebec
Andre Levesque, president of A.S. Levesque, sees the growing strength of the group being a major benefit to his dealerships’ customers as they travel.
“RVs typically don’t experience mechanical issues close to home, it’s usually while out traveling and using the RV,” he said. “With this solid group of service-minded dealers I can rest assured that my customers will be well taken care of in both Canada and the U.S.”
Smith’s RV Centre’s general manager, Jason Johnstone, recognizes the group’s buying opportunities as the network’s footprint grows in Canada.
“Anytime you associate yourself with an organization that is larger than yourself you’ll realize greater economies of scale in your purchasing,” he said. “These advantages not only result in financial benefits for the dealership but also translate into great values for our customers.”
Outdoor Travel President Ken Whiting believes the engagement with ROUTE 66 in Canada will create a unique competitive advantage for his dealership.
“As a ROUTE 66 dealer we now have over 150 satellite locations in North America ready to help my customers as they travel,” he said. “No other RV dealer group provides a universal brand, like the ROUTE 66 shield, that offers RVers peace of mind knowing that they’ve got a friend close by willing to help.”
Additional dealers will be added to the ROUTE 66 RV Network in Canada with “the recommendation from these and other future member dealers,” according to Merrill. He noted that each dealership’s territory will be clearly defined to ensure every dealership enjoys market exclusivity in offering the network’s unique dealer and consumer program benefits in the U.S. and Canada.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network is comprised of RV dealers in North America with nearly 150 locations in 44 states and provinces and promises.
With 10 new locations on board and another 10 locations in the works, the ROUTE 66 RV Network is aggressively expanding in Canada.
“We’ve been contacted by interested dealers from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia” says Rob Merrill, ROUTE 66 partner, in a press release. “And to a tee, what attracts these dealers to ROUTE 66 is the unmatched opportunity to tie their local dealership to one common North American brand that has proven successful at serving traveling RVers.
“With ROUTE 66 dealers in nearly 40 states in the U.S., as well as a rapidly growing team of Canadian dealers adopting the ROUTE 66 brand, we are truly one major brand delivering one common promise: ‘Wherever the Road Takes You … You Can Count on Us’.”
The new ROUTE 66 Canadian dealers currently on board include:
• Triangle RV Centre – Sylvia Thistle-Miller – Sidney, British Columbia
• Chemo RV Sales & Service – Jason Bell – 150 Mile House/Quesnel, British Columbia
Kelowna RVs – Randy Woodside – Kelowna, British Columbia
Arkann Trailer & RV Centre – Ken Friedenberg – Edmonton, Alberta
R.V. Lifestyles – Neil Freidenberg – Calgary, Alaberta
Village RV – Darren Gelowitz – Regina, Saskatchewan
Transcona Trailer Sales – Garth Bromley – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Hiemstra Trailer Sales – Wayne Heimstra – London, Otario
Darren Gelowitz, president of Village RV, sees ROUTE 66 as a natural brand extension to his dealership’s mission and values. “In our 43 years in business we felt no one could look after our customers’ needs as well as we could,” he said. “As part of the Route 66 RV Network, we know that Village RV customers will be treated with the same friendly, experienced service as they travel from member dealers who care.”
Chemo RV’s general manager, Jason Bell, is excited about being a part of ROUTE 66 knowing the strength of the network and its brand in the U.S. “The excellent reputation the ROUTE 66 RV Network has earned in the US gives me a great deal of confidence in joining the network in Canada,” he said. “Partnering with nearly 150 like-minded dealerships in Canada and the U.S., we can rest assured that our customers will be well taken care of — like we would take of them — wherever they travel.”
One of the founding dealers of The Network in Canada, Sylvia Thistle-Miller of Triangle RV, believes ROUTE 66 not only serves dealers’ needs but also the interests of their customers. “Unlike other RV dealer networks, ROUTE 66 seeks to add value to our customers’ experience after they buy an RV,” she said. “They can get savings at nearly 500 KOA Campgrounds in North America, traveling discounts through the ROUTE 66 RV Club and the peace of mind that comes with the new ROUTE 66 Roadside/Tech24 program. They’ve built a true consumer brand.”
Owner/President Ken Friedenberg of Arrkann Trailer sees being a part of a highly recognizable North American brand as a major plus. “This will ensure that any of my customers who travel in Canada or the US will always see a familiar brand that reassures them that they have a friend they can count on,” he said. “ROUTE 66 not only gives us a unique customer benefit, but gives our customers a great deal of peace of mind as they travel.”
Additional dealers will be added to the ROUTE 66 RV Network in Canada with the recommendation from these and other future member dealers. Each dealership’s territory will be clearly defined to ensure every dealership enjoys market exclusivity in offering The Network’s unique dealer and consumer program benefits in the U.S. and Canada.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network encompasses nearly 150 locations in 44 states and provinces.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada will be hosting its 16th Annual Canada Night Dinner on Nov. 26 as part of the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, this year’s event will celebrate the milestones and triumphs of distinguished individuals in the RV industry and Canada’s pride as a nation. The event will be held at the Galt House Hotel with a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. followed by dinner.
Guest speakers include Roy MacGregor, award-winning journalist and author, and hockey player Paul Henderson. Known as the “goal of the century,” Henderson scored the winning goal against Russia in the Summit Series 40 years ago.
Registration for the event by Nov. 19 is $65 or $85 at the door.
Also planned, in conjunction with Camping Canada’s RV Lifestyle Magazine and Camping Canada’s Dealer News, will be the presentation of the 2012 Walter Paseska Canadian RV Dealer of the Year Award.
Established in 1989 by Camping Canada, and dedicated to Walter Paseska for his many years of commitment and tireless dedication to the RV industry, this award is given to a Canadian RV acting dealer principal on the basis of the following criteria:
• Long-term dedication to the RV industry and promotion of the RV lifestyle by the acting dealer principal of a recognized full-service RV dealership.
• Commitment and participation in the RVDA at the provincial or national level.
• Recognition by customers and peers as a person with the highest integrity and credibility in both work and personal life.
• Contribution to the community.
Ian Moore, president and owner of Big Boy’s Toys Ltd. in Nanoose Bay, B.C., has been elected as the new chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada.
According to a press release, Big Boy’s Toys has been serving Vancouver Island for over 30 years. Moore has been involved in the dealership for 15 of those years.
In 1998, Moore and his family purchased 50% of the shares in Big Boy’s Toys and subsequently purchased the remaining shares of the company in 2001. Since Moore became involved in the company, Big Boy’s Toys has more than doubled its number of employees, now providing employment for 15 full-time personnel.
In July 2000, the company moved from a one-acre leased property to its current eight acres in the Nanoose area and now consists of a large business office/showroom, a 2000-square-foot parts store and a 5,000-square-foot service department.
Moore has also continued to participate in industry related matters and had been involved with the RVDA of British Columbia for a number of years, having sat on the board as treasurer for two terms, as vice president for two terms and as president for one term. Following his term as president, Moore continued as past president of the organization for an additional two terms.
Moore has also been involved on the national level and has served on the national funding committee along with holding board slots for the RVDA of Canada as director, treasurer and as vice chair.
“It is a sincere honor and pleasure to be elected as the new chairman of the RVDA of Canada,” states Moore. “I am very excited about the direction and growth the association has had over the past few years and I will strive to ensure its continued success. Please know that my door is always open and I look forward to working with all of our industry partners to ensure our industry’s continued success.”
Moore’s dealership continues to be an active member of the Better Business Bureau as well as a supporter of the local Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Big Boy’s Toys has been an active supporter of local food banks over the last five years and together with support from numerous local businesses has been successfully assisting the organizations through the companies’ annual “Help Fill the MoHo with Food Campaign”.
Other officers for the 2012-2013 year are: Vice Chairman Kyle Redmond, Bucars RV Centre, Balzac, Alberta; Treasurer George Goodrick, Adventure Sports Ltd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Past Chairman Garth Bromley, Transcona Trailer Sales, Winnipeg, Manitoba
RVDA of Canada’s current board includes: Gord Bragg, Hub City RV, Lantzville, B.C.; Marty Vellner, Vellner Leisure Products, Red Deer, Alberta; Darren Gelowitz, Village RV, Regina, Saskatchewan; Jim Gorrie, GNR Camping World, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Sam Parks, Camp-Out RV Ltd., Stratford, Ontario; Jean-Francois Lussier, Horizon Lussier, Marieville, Quebec; Bruce Marsh, Cape Breton Trailer Sales, Bras d’Or, Nova Scotia; Jonathan Stone, Stone’s RV Centre, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Meridian RV Sales Center, Coquitlam, B.C., has been named the 2011 RV Dealer of the Year by the Canadian RV Dealers Association (RVDA).
“It’s quite exciting actually. We were chosen by our peers,” said owner Tom Ramsay. “I didn’t expect to win. There were some very, very credible dealers.”
Canada.com reported that Ramsay runs the business, originally started by his father in 1967, with his wife and family, all of whom remain involved in the third-generation family business.
The award distinguishes dealers for dedication to the industry and RV lifestyle, recognition by customers and peers for being a businessman of the highest integrity and credibility in both work and personal life, and contribution to the community.
The company was first nominated for and won the B.C. dealer of the year award, and was automatically entered into the Canadian competition.
The business originally manufactured custom RVs from the frame to upholstery stitching, but transitioned into sales and service in more recent years.
Despite recent economic turmoil, Ramsay has only seen his business grow over the years.
“The state [of business] is good. We actually started selling new RVs just as the RV industry crashed.
“A lot of manufacturers closed their doors. But in those years, we’ve done nothing but move up. Our graph is positive all the way,” he said.
More and more Albertans are hitting the road in RVs, as sales of recreational vehicles are bouncing back along with the economy, according to a report by CBC.ca.
Emily Reid, with Go RVing Canada — the group that represents RV dealers and manufacturers — says sales are way up.
“Alberta, in the first quarter, has shown an increase of 42% increase in sales, which is one of the highest in the country,” says Reid.
The economy is playing a big role, according to Darren Paylor with Woody’s RV World. He says the recession forced manufacturers to produce RVs for less, and dealers started buying in bulk.
“Trailers have come down a lot in price,” he said. “It was timely that it happened as our Canadian dollar strengthened a lot, so the reduction in price in Canada is very substantial.”
Paylor says an RV that would have sold for $150,000 six years ago, will now have more features and sell for closer to $100,000.
Trevor Elliott is just one of many Albertans buying a bigger RV this year. He says it’s his way to escape the city. “All our friends would come and camp and go out and about and have some fun,” says Elliott.
As part of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada’s Advocacy Days, representatives are on Parliament Hill today (April 24) in Ottawa, Ontario, to urge support for critical cross-border issues affecting the Canadian industry.
The government’s 2012 Federal Budget has increased the value of goods travelers to the United States are able to bring back to Canada tax and duty free. This has serious implications for the competitiveness of the Canadian RV industry, which already has to compete with lower U.S. RV dealership prices, the Canada Newswire reported.
“This has really sideswiped our business on aftermarket parts and service for RVs,” stated Garth Bromley, RVDA of Canada chairman of the board. “Many of these items will now be tax-exempt. You can purchase a new RV awning for $800, and a couple can even buy a full new set of tires under the increased categories. This is a powerful incentive for customers to take their business to the U.S.”
RVDA feels that by raising the threshold of the value of goods travelers are able to bring back, when the Canadian Border Services Agency is not enforcing the current laws, the government is sending a powerful message that it is not serious about collecting taxes and duty on imports by customers. This will only lead to more cross-border shopping, and evasion at the border, which will have serious consequences for Canadian retailers.
In light of this issue, RVDA would like to request the government lower the duties Canadian RV retailers pay on imported goods. We are asking that the duties on aftermarket RV parts and add-ons be reduced to zero. Currently duties range between 7% and 18%.
Safety Issue Raised Too
Besides competitiveness issues, there are also safety concerns with vehicles purchased across the border. Many imported RVs are not compliant with national and provincial regulations regarding items such as propane tanks and electrical systems.
“Currently, we lack a coherent way to ensure that imported units meet Canadian safety standards, and there is a significant lack of consumer knowledge of specific regulations when they are importing vehicles through the Registrar of Imported Vehicles,” added Bromley. “We ask that the government implement a countrywide certification for all consumer and retailer imports, to ensure the safe operation and use of RVs across Canada.”
Finally, he concluded, RVing and camping are large components of tourism for both Canadians and visitors alike. There is a need for the Canadian Tourism Commission to promote RV rentals being offered in Canada as a new way to discover the country. This is a viable growth area for tourism in Canada.
The RV Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada launched a new “Buy Local” campaign designed to encourage Canadians to buy recreation vehicles from dealers in that country.
According to a press release, RVDA of Canada identified several major benefits to buying local, including:
• Purchase a new RV from a dealer in Canada and enjoy a full manufacturer’s warranty at no additional cost.
• Most Canadian RV dealers belong to the RVDA, which has a strict and professional code of conduct. Canadian RV dealers offer a wide selection to help customers find one that best suits their needs and those of their family.
• New RVs shipped to Canadian dealers are built to meet applicable (provincial and federal) RV standards and regulations. RVs receive a full inspection before it’s delivered at no extra cost.
• There are no hidden purchase costs as all delivery costs including: freight, tariffs and duties are included in the price.
• Canadian RV dealers can help arrange financing that offer low monthly payments with amortizations up to 20 years.
• RVDA dealers not only offer great value on a new RV, but also help consumers save on after sale parts and service.
• A qualified RV technician or professional RV salesperson can give you a full orientation of your new RV. Trade-ins are also welcome at Canadian RV dealers.
• Local RV dealers actively support community programs.
For more information and to get the Buy Local merchandising materials, dealers can call RVDA of Canada at (604) 718-6325, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.buylocal.ca.
The Western RV Group of Companies announced expansion into Kelowna, British Columbia, with the acquisition of Parklane RV to complement its seven dealerships in Alberta, according to a press release.
Operating in its location since 1978, Parklane RV will join The Western RV Group of Companies, which includes the brand names Western RV Country, All Star RV and Field of RV Dreams.
President Bruce Urban said the dealership will benefit from one of the largest inventories of new and pre-owned RVs in Canada.
“The RV lifestyle is something that we believe in, something that everyone in this organization believes in, and we are thrilled to be bringing our passion and dedication of the RV industry to a new province,” said Urban.
Urban said the newest Western RV Country store has a “superb location in Kelowna along with a dedicated staff, excellent products and strong customer base.”
Western RV Kelowna officially opened on the Feb. 1, however the transition will take some time. The new store will focus on Forest River Inc. product brands. “Forest River is a visionary company and knows the value of promoting its world class brand through partnering with expanding and aggressive dealers,” states Urban.
Forest River and Western RV Country have a long-standing relationship, which includes a partnership with the Edmonton Rush Lacrosse Club. Entering their seventh season of professional lacrosse in Edmonton, the Rush are owned and operated by the Western RV Group of Companies. “Forest River believes partnering with a pro sports franchise is a strategic move in RV branding,” explains Urban.
Western RV Country, in operation for 21 years, has built a solid reputation in the Alberta RV market, winning the consumer choice award for nine years in a row.
To learn more about the newest addition to the Western RV Country family along with additional information regarding the company, visit www.westernrvcountry.com.
Jeff Redmond, general manager for Bucars RV Centre, was awarded the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Alberta Dealer of the Year Award. The prize was bestowed to Redmond on July 20 at the RV dealership in front of staff, family and friends.
Through trying times, a full-blown recession and a rainy 2010, it was evident to the RVDA of Alberta that this RV dealer has stood the test of time, according to a press release.
“I’m truly honored by the award and nomination and have the staff to thank for always putting in their best, every single day,” says Redmond about receiving the award. “I’ve also been blessed with some great mentors and partners and will continue to honor our traditions, missions and values as one of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, best RV dealerships.”
Through this award, Redmond has received another nomination – RVDA of Canada Dealer of the Year. Being awarded with this honorable prize would be the icing of the cake for Redmond, who has always maintained that it’s never about the awards and always about “how we can make a difference in the industry and RVing dreams come true for our customers.”
In the award, RVDA of Alberta Executive Director Dan Merkowsky cited Redmond’s career accolades, including:
• Started working at Bucars since it was purchased by the Redmond family in 1989, helping it grow from 10 employees to over 60 today.
• Served on Alberta RVDA board from 1999-2005 and as the association’s president from 2003-2004.
• RVDA of Canada board member from 2003-2005.
• Go RVing Canada board director since 2004 acting as chair from 2008-2010.
• Past chair of RV recruitment committee.
• President and chair of Balzac, Alberta Business Community Association since 2007
• Actively supports the community with Rotary, Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede and Kids Cancer Care Foundation.
The North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) recently announced that the first annual Canadian Dealer Summit will be held during the 2011 NATDA Trade Show, set to run Sept. 8-10 at the Dallas Convention Center.
According to a press release, the summit will feature guest speakers, including QAI Laboratories and the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), with presentations designed specifically for the Canadian dealer audience.
“NATDA has always embraced its Canadian members, but recently we have put in many hours of research and development to offer specific education and services for Canadian trailer dealers,” said Andy Ackerman, NATDA president. “We recognize that Canada is a different market with different needs than the U.S., and we are devoted to serving those needs to the best of our ability. I think the Canadian Dealer Summit at this year’s show represents a significant step in the right direction.”
Topics at the Canadian Dealer Summit will include U.S. versus Canadian compliance, trailer industry trends, new technology and products in the market, efficient import and sale of U.S. trailers in Canada, and comparison of providence regulations.
The Canadian Dealer Summit is free for all dealers that have a connection to the industry, but pre-registration is required to secure a seat. The NATDA Trade Show is also free for all dealers to attend and walk the floor. Special events at this year’s show include world-renowned keynote speaker, Warren Greshes, a dealer breakfast, a kick-off party at Gilley’s Dallas and the Redneck Parts Carnival. For more information on the 2011 event, please visit www.natdatradeshow.com or call 727-360-0304.