Outdoors RV Manufacturing has partnered with Alberta-based High River Autoplex & RV to represent the BlackStone travel trailer line, according to a news release.
High River Autoplex & RV was founded 15 years ago by owners Doug McLaughlin and Jerry Howe and has grown to employ 55 workers. Situated on eight acres of land 15 minutes south of Calgary, the dealership offers a 17-bay service center, large indoor showroom, a parts department and inventory that covers the size of seven football fields.
“The BlackStone line was a perfect fit for this high quality dealership with a motto of ‘small town feel, big city selection,’” said High River Sales Manager Paul Alexander.
Jim Croxton, general manager for La Grand, Ore.-based Outdoors RV, noted, “It is always a pleasure to partner with such a professional dealership that can hit the ground running and begin retailing high end units as quickly as they were setup with the product line. We continue to see tremendous growth with the Black Stone brand. We have sold out every production run and retailed over 60% of the units that have been shipped from our production facility since we started building 10 months ago.”
Things are looking up for the RV industry in western canada — way up.
At High River Autoplex & RV, near Calgary, it’s been a busy spring so far, as the dealership appears headed toward record sales, says sales manager Jason Chesko. He credits part of that to Alberta being a traditionally strong market for RVs, with any number of outdoor setting just waiting to be explored.
But Chesko also points to that RV manufacturers are coming out with more affordable products that target everyone from the casual RVer to the regular weekend warrior — “whether you’re looking for something for $7,000 or $700,000.”
In particular, Chesko notes a number of new trends that have emerged in recent years. Slide-outs continue to be hugely popular as an affordable way to increase the spaciousness of an RV.
Hybrid trailers are also growing in popularity. They combine a solid trailer body with pop-out sleeping areas similar to a tent trailer, adding additional space when set up for camping.
For culinary campers, outside kitchens are fast becoming a must-have, says Chesko. Everything from a stovetop to a fridge that slides out on a platform are bringing five-course dining to the outdoors.
Another trend is the increasing number of lighter RV models that can be pulled by an SUV or similar-sized vehicle. Eastside Dodge Chrysler Jeep new car sales manager Reg Gardiner says many of today’s vehicles have the power needed for towing.
In fact, Gardiner says there are capable tow vehicles in pretty much every one of the dealership’s lineup of vehicles. Chrysler’s minivans, for example, can haul up to 3,900 pounds (1,770 kilograms), while the Jeep Liberty SUV can handle up to 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms). And at the high end of trailer-towing needs are the latest heavy-duty three-quarter-and one-ton Dodge trucks that can pull up to 17,500 pounds (7,940 kilograms).
Those buying a vehicle with plans to use it for towing a trailer may also want to consider a couple of must-have options, says Gardiner. That may include an obvious choice, such as selecting a more powerful engine like a Hemi V-8 or Cummins diesel. Or it may mean specifying the proper final-drive ratio, or gearing, of a vehicle.
Gardiner recommends letting a salesperson know you plan to tow a camper so he or she can recommend the right vehicle with the right options.