Carefree of Colorado announced the promotion of Scott Thompson to president, effective May 17. According to a press release, Carefree’s current president, Jeff Rutherford, has resigned to take another position within the industry.
Thompson, a native of Iowa, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s in industrial technology.
He joined Carefree in 1998 and quickly progressed through a series of increasingly responsible positions before becoming Carefree’s vice president of operations in 2010.
“We will continue to deliver the innovative quality products that have been our trademark for many years,” said Thompson. “I look forward to working with all of our OEM and aftermarket customers.”
As vice president of engineering, Thompson led the development of a number of industry firsts such as the Travel’r power awning and the Paramount three-stage box awning. He is a listed inventor on numerous Carefree patents.
“I’d like to thank Jeff for his many contributions to Carefree and wish him the very best of luck in his new role,” said Thompson.
Carefree of Colorado, a Scott Fetzer Co., is a leading provider of awnings and awning accessories to the RV industry since 1971.
Carefree of Colorado, in close association with its distributor partners, has launched the “Carefree Store,” a one-stop shopping retail section for everything RVers needs for their Carefree awning.
The consumer-friendly packaging and signage easily identifies the features and benefits while giving the dealer a professional looking, organized display. Additionally, Carefree offers mobile displays that can be utilized during peak season to promote alternate locations such as checkout counters and entryways.
As part of the program, dealers also receive POS displays that show product upgrades. These displays are interactive units that allow the consumer to make an informed decision while letting the dealer easily demonstrate the features and benefits. All products, point of sale and point of purchase materials can be viewed online or in Carefree’s full color accessories catalog.
“We did our homework and field tested this concept in 2011,” says Mark Davis, Carefree’s marketing manager. “Our test metrics were outstanding so we quickly rolled it out for this year’s show season and the response we received has been fantastic.”
Kevin Jastrem, Carefree’s aftermarket sales manager added, “We made sure the products had the right velocity,” he says. “We want to give the dealer a high turnover rate on these items plus the POS units allow easy selling of larger, harder to display products which can be a silent salesperson for the dealers.”
For more information contact Mark Davis or Kevin Jastrem at (800) 621-2617
Carefree of Colorado executives paid a visit to the company’s Elkhart, Ind., facility last week (May 14-17) to give OEM customers a ‘first glimpse’ of some new products and a jump-start on integrating them into the coming year’s motorhome and towable lines.
Although Broomfield, Col.-based Carefree normally does this in August, well ahead of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Louisville Show in late November, this year’s showing was moved up in light of Elkhart County’s Open House Week in late September.
“The event has always been well-received by the OEMs,” said Piar Adams, Carefree’s director of OEM sales. “This year, we received requests from manufacturers who were interested in getting the latest products, but who wanted to have them on units in time for Open House.”
Among Carefree’s new products on display:
• A screen wall tailored for the back doors of toyhaulers incorporating both screen windows and, inside, privacy panels. “This is like a garage door for the consumer in that they can leave it installed at all times and have access through the door,” Adams pointed out. “They can raise and lower it. They can also roll up one side or the other or both to get the toys out.”
• An entry-level screen room add-a-room designed for smaller travel trailers. “It’s economically priced, and essentially doubles the living space of the travel trailer,” said Adams, noting that the lightweight, polyester add-a-room is waterproof, easy to install, set up and store.
• A new Camp Out Lite awning specifically made for tent campers. “The tent-camping part of the industry is very price-sensitive,” said Pete Briganti, sales rep for Elkhart area. “What we’ve done is eliminate the rafters that go back to the coach — off of our normal Freedom awning) with this awning. It’s held out by straps and into the ground with stakes.”
• The Premium Room, a screen room used in conjunction with Carefree’s Freedom box awning. “This screen room fits tightly to the side of the coach, using rails that actually have an expandable flange seated against the side of the coach that keep all bugs out,” Briganti said. “There are extra flaps sewn where the different connections are made for the rails that makes it 100% bug-proof. On the outside, there are weatherproofing flaps for inclement weather, while inside there are privacy panels that can be rolled up or down, or stored when not in use.”
• The Sidewinder 3, which offers the same tent-camper awning internals as Carefree’s Camp Out unit, housed in a new, attractive case.
• The Mirage two-stage awning, a wall-mounted power box awning intended to complement the original Mirage. “It extends out, then incorporates a 20-degree down-angle to provide more shade,” said Briganti. “One of complaints we had with our original Mirage awning was that — because it was mounted high on motorhomes and towables — there were times of the day when it wasn’t providing optimum shade. By putting in this ‘second stage,’ it drops it down 20 degrees while maintaining a 10-foot extension, which provides lots of protection from the sun.”
In addition, Carefree has advanced the integration of LED lights in its power Travel’r awning and Freedom box awning, a concept initially introduced at Carefree’s Elkhart open house in 2011.
“The biggest difficulty we faced was figuring out how to power the lights to make it easy for everyone as far as installation and for the end-user,” Briganti noted. “So, we ran a wire from our roller bar through the hem of the canopy and up to the sidewall of the coach, where it can be installed with the awning’s power wire through the sidewall. From there, it’s wired into a switch panel — one switch operates the awning, the other operates the lights.”
Industry supplier Carefree of Colorado will unveil multiple new awning products at an invitation-only event to be held at its Elkhart, Ind., facility during the week of May 14.
“We’re excited about this year’s group of new offerings,” said Piar Adams, director of OEM sales for Broomfield, Colo.-based Carefree, in a press release. “These new products will continue our tradition of bringing quality, value, performance and style to our customers.”
The company, which is celebrating over 40 years of serving the RV Industry, said that it engineered the first electric powered awning and the first slideout cover. Today, Carefree offers a full line of RV awnings.
Carefree of Colorado is a Scott Fetzer Co., a division of Berkshire Hathaway.
Broomfield, Colo.-based Carefree of Colorado recently introduced a new store display for dealers that encompasses an array of replacement parts for the company’s awning lines.
According to Carefree President Jeff Rutherford, the display — unveiled at the company’s Elkhart, Ind., facility in early August — represents an investment by Carefree in its brand.
“We’re showing it to our OEM customers to give them the assurance that when they partner with a company like Carefree, they aren’t just buying the awnings and being sent on their way — they have a whole support network behind them. We’re heavily invested in the aftermarket, and have more than 50 distributor stocking locations around the country, and they, in turn, support the thousands of dealers that are out there. So anytime a customer has a part need or an accessory need for Carefree they know now that they can go into a dealership and find what they need.”
The display, with new packaging, includes everything from remote locks to replacement pull straps, brackets and roller hardware. Larger items, including camping mats and sun blockers in convenient totes, also are included.
“Carefree is the only full-time RV awning company in the world,” Rutherford added. “We have competitors who do bits and pieces (within the awning arena) but we support everything from folding camping trailers all the way up to luxury motorhomes — and we take those products and we sell them into the RV industry worldwide.”
Carefree of Colorado recently held a “soft introduction” of new products at its Elkhart, Ind., facility to give dealers and distributors an advance look at new products the awning company will officially launch at the National RV Trade Show in late November.
“We invited existing and potential customers to come in and look at the new products,” said Jeff Rutherford, president of the Broomfield, Colo., company. “We typically have done this at this time of the year so customers get to see the product prior to Louisville.”
Among the products displayed were drop-down shades for high-mounted awnings, a Freedom Wall Mount used at the back of units to cover the ramp door of sport-utility trailers and fifth-wheels, a new lighting system option and a new store display for dealers.
“Carefree is the only full-line RV awning company in the world,” said Rutherford. “Our new store display gives our OEM customers the assurance that when they partner with a company like Carefree, they aren’t just buying the awnings and being sent on their way — they have a whole support system behind them.”
The light option, available on the company’s Travel’r, Paramount and all its box awnings, incorporates dimmable rope-type lights that are remote-controlled and provide ambient light for campers. Depending upon the awning, the lights are integrated into the arm channel/lead rail and roller tube/case.
Carefree of Colorado will be hosting its annual new product showcase August 2-4 at the company’s facility in Elkhart, Ind.
According to a press release, the event marks the seventh year for the showcase where Carefree introduces its upcoming new products and latest innovations in private showings for Carefree customers.
“For the past seven years Carefree has been giving our OEM customers a first glimpse of new products and conceptual products, giving them a jump-start on the market with products that enhance and add value to their RVs,” said Piar Adams, Carefree’s director of OEM sales. “This year is our 40th anniversary serving the RV industry and we are looking forward to kicking off the next 40 years with these new offerings. Our four pillars of quality, value, performance, and style are well represented in these new products.”
Carefree of Colorado, a Scott Fetzer Company, is the only full-line RV awning company in the world. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Adams at 800-622-3230, ext. 6210, or Pete Briganti at 574-537-8888.
Carefree of Colorado, a leading awning supplier to the U.S. market, has announced the launch of Carefree awnings in the United Kingdom market.
The U.K. launch is supported by two respected U.K. motorhome producers, Auto-Sleepers and Bentley Motorhomes, who both showcased Carefree awnings at the International Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham, England, according to a news release.
The new “Artisan” range of Bentley Motorhomes debuted at the International Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham with the roof mounted Carefree “Freedom” fully electric awning. Auto-Sleepers, Motor Homes of Excellence, featured Carefree awnings on the 50th Year Anniversary ‘Executive’ model launched at the show, with a wall-mounted Carefree “Freedom” fully electric awning.
The innovative Freedom awning, shown on Auto-Sleepers and Bentley Motorhomes, has full electric movement, neatly removing all the strains of winding in and out, as found with standard manual style awnings.
For further details, please visit our website at www.carefreeofcolorado.com or contact our U.K. agent Scan-Terieur at the following addres:s Scan-Terieur Ltd., 30 Metro Centre, Tolpits Lane, Watford WD18 9XG; phone +44 1923 800353; e-mail email@example.com.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a major stakeholder in the RV industry, retained the No. 2 spot on the Forbes list of richest Americans.
Bill Gates retained his top spot on the list with $54 billion, followed by Buffett with $45 billion, according to a Forbes news release.
Bershire Hathaway’s RV holdings are Forest River Inc. and the Scott Fetzer Co., parent of RV industry supplier Carefree of Colorado.
This year’s Forbes 400 reflects an uptick in wealth among America’s 400 Richest, with a total combined wealth of $1.37 trillion. In contrast to 2009, wealth was up for some 217 members of this year’s list while only 85 members saw a decline. Gainers include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (No. 35), whose wealth increased 245%, the largest percentage increase of anyone on the list, and Diane Hendricks (No. 170), one of the 42 women on this year’s list.
Among the decliners are M&M moguls John, Jacqueline and Forrest Mars (No. 26), who keep a low profile in Wyoming. Sixty-four Richest had no change in net worth, including Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (No. 365). The Forbes 400 welcomed 16 new members in 2010, including two with ties to Facebook: Dustin Moskovitz (No. 290), (he left Facebook in 2008 but still has a stake in the social networking outfit and is now worth $1.4 billion) who at 26 is the new youngest on the list (he’s 8 days younger than Zuckerberg); and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (No. 356) with $1.15 billion. Sidney Kimmel (No. 365), who earned his fortune in the apparel business and then became a film producer, is one of the 18 returnees to the list.
RANK NAME WEALTH SOURCE $ CHANGE FROM 2009
- Bill Gates $54 billion, Microsoft + $4 billion
- Warren Buffett $45 billion, Berkshire Hathaway + $5 billion
- Lawrence Ellison $27 billion, Oracle $0
- Christy Walton & family $24 billion, Wal-Mart + $2.5 billion
- Charles Koch $21.5 billion, manufacturing, energy + $5.5 billion
- David Koch $21.5 billion, Mmanufacturing, energy +$5.5 billion
- Jim C. Walton $20.1 billion, Wal-Mart + $ 500 million
- Alice Walton $20 billion, Wal-Mart + $ 700 million
- S. Robson Walton $19.7 billion, Wal-Mart + $ 700 million
- Michael Bloomberg $18 billion, Bloomberg LP + $ 500 million
Carefree of Colorado has formed its first dealer advisory council.
“The establishment of this council is part of our ongoing effort to improve our collective business and increase customer satisfaction,” said Mike Farmer, vice president of sales and marketing for the Broomfield, Colo.-based supplier of innovative awnings and sun and shade solutions. “This council is comprised of dealerships from geographically diverse key markets across the country. Their guidance and insight will give us the opportunity to gain valuable feedback on market trends, product needs, service, warranty, training and support initiatives to the dealer community and end users. We are honored that these leaders in their field have agreed to be part of this council.”
The members of the council are:
- Joe Altman, Altman’s Winnebago, Carson, Calif. \
- Brandon Bretz,Bretz RV, Missoula, Mont.
- Jesse Orgaard, Capital RV, Bismarck, N.D.
- Shawn Hubbell, Guaranty RV, Junction City, Ore.
- Randy Ketelsen, Ketelsen Campers,Wheatridge, Colo.
- Pat Leach, Leach RV, Lincoln, Neb.
- Jay Simon, Mantelli Trailer Sales, Lockport, N.Y.
- Brad Outcalt, Orangewood RV, Surprise, Ariz.
- Tom Stinnett, Tom Stinnett RV, Clarksville, Ind.
- Steve Francis, Trailside Camper & RV, Grain Valley, Mo.
- Dave Francis, ROUTE 66 RV Network, Overland Park, Kan.
- Craig Beckley, Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, Md.
- Robert “Griff” Griffin, Albany RV, Albany, N.Y.
Carefree of Colorado is a division of Scott Fetzer, a Berkshire Hathaway Co.