Glacier Bay RV, formerly North American Traveler in Elkhart, Ind., has moved into a new 22,000-square-foot factory in a small industrial park on the north side of Goshen, Ind., and has begun marketing Glacier Bay fifth-wheels (shown at left) factory-direct.
”We are trying to get a fresh start,” said Stan Imboden, co-owner of Glacier Bay along with partner Jack Bell. ”We are just starting to get rolling here.”
Imboden and Bell, both investors in North American Traveler, took over control of the company in August. The renamed, 10 employe-firm moved into the Goshen plant Oct. 1.
The two decided to sell Glacier Bay fifth-wheels factory-direct because of the challenging economic environment that caused more than half of 3-year-old North American Traveler’s 40 dealers to close, Imboden said.
”In a normal environment, you send your sales guys out to get new dealers, but there’s no way for a company as small as we are to compete with larger manufacturers that are offering their own wholesale financing,” Imboden said. ”We had to come up with something that worked for us.
”We’ve had people who say they like to buy from a factory because it doesn’t do any good for them to buy from a dealer that’s going to go out of business.”
Fiberglass-and-aluminum Glacier Bay fifth-wheels are available in six 34 1/2- to 38-foot floorplans with few options for retail prices from $46,000. A 2011 quad-slide model will be introduced in mid-January.
”We incorporated luxury options in the standard price,” Imboden said. ”We only have about 10 options, which makes it very easy for customers to order a unit.”
Glacier Bay also plans to introduce a sport utility RV (SURV) and a 28 1/2-foot traditional fifth-wheel floorplan designed to be used without a slider hitch in short-bed pickup trucks.
Because there is no dealer from which to obtain service, a five-year outside service contract is included with each coach, Imboden said.