The Lazydays RV dealership in Tucson, Ariz., is holding its 2nd Annual Wild West RV Show this weekend.
According to a press release, the event will run Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. A full slate of activities is planned, including product demonstrations, live music and a complimentary hot dog lunch.
In addition, representatives from several RV motorhome brands will be on-site, including American Coach, Born Free, Entegra Coach, Era, Holiday Rambler, Forest River, Pleasure-Way and Thor Motor Coach. They will be discussing existing products, as well as give a sneak peek into new innovations still on the design table.
For more information, please visit www.lazydaysevents.com.
Some RV manufacturers say the pressure on the industry’s transportation channels continues to build and that backlogs of up to six weeks in delivering RVs from factories to dealers are common. But others claim the transportation situation is easing up.
Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind., and Gulf Stream Coach Inc., Nappanee, Ind., are facing up to six-week waits. “The situation has eased up to some extent, but it is still a tight situation,” said Sid Johnson, Jayco’s director of marketing.
As for dealers and customers, adds Johnson, they’ve been relatively patient thus far.
“As we are now into spring and better weather, there is going to be increasing pressure on trying to get the product to the dealership when needed,” he said. “There is absolutely no doubt that the pressure will increase between now and the first of June unless we can provide a more timely service for them.”
In addition to a four-to-six-week shipping backlog, said Phil Savari, executive vice president at Gulf Stream, the market is such that has company is facing a four-to-six-week backlog on manufacturing their towable RVs.
The upside to all of this: Business is good.
“It is the best backlog we’ve had at our company,” he said. “But we are feeling the heat from dealers and customers. Looking at the seasonality of this industry, most of the manufacturing and shipping is happening between January and April. That is when the dealers/manufacturers/suppliers/transport companies gear up.”
Savari would prefer a market that wasn’t so seasonal, but realizes that this is the way things have always been. “What we are experiencing is a good sign right now because the demand is up and I believe more finance companies are going to be loosening up,” he added. “This is the great U.S.A. and people are going to feel confident again.”
Lazydays RV SuperCenter, Seffner, Fla., is also experiencing a backlog in the delivery of towables. “Lazydays has been able to minimize that impact by having a strong relationship with the drive services and even sending our own drivers when needed in order to best serve our customers,” said Sharon Padly, inventory manager.
However, the situation at SunnyBrook RV, Middlebury, Ind., is more fluid.
“Star Fleet is our primary carrier and the most we are out is one week,” said Elvie Fry, president. “Star Fleet is our carrier of choice so that helps. They do take good care of us, plus we are not shipping the higher number of units that some of the other larger companies are. We are shipping an average of 150 towable RV’s a month.”
From a carrier standpoint, Wave Express, Goshen, Ind., earlier this year had a three-week backlog — not as long as some other transport companies, but still more than part-owner Anita Carpenter would prefer. But she says the backlog has now decreased to two weeks.
Honestly it seems it is easing up a little bit,” she said. “Part of that reason is we hired more drivers. We’re still busy. There is plenty of work, but our dispatchers aren’t wanting to pull their hair out. Considering where we were two years ago it is amazing how busy we are.”
Wave Express is shipping 100-125 towables weekly in the U.S. and Canada.
RV Transport Service in Portland, Ore., is only three days backlogged for U.S. deliveries, about a week for Canadian deliveries.
“We’re hiring about one driver a week,” said Leah Dilgarde, general manager. “Our key to not getting backlogged is only accepting the work that we know will be covered in a timely manner. I have turned down work when we don’t have the drivers available, which is probably different from other companies because they’ll take every load they can get, even if they don’t have the drivers available.”
Editor’s Note: Lazydays RV center in Seffner, Fla., was mentioned in a recent St. Petersburg Times story on company perks to areas businesses. Here is an excerpt from that story.
The economic slump has socked wages and commissions at Seffner’s Lazydays RV Center. But nobody’s messing with the free camping excursions to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
How popular is the benefit among the RV center’s 520 employees? Let’s just say the camper is booked 52 weeks a year. Reservations are literally apportioned by monthly raffle.
“That’s one thing that’s really untouchable,” executive Debbie Dube said of the perk dreamed up by the company’s sales manager six years ago. Lazydays keeps the camper, called a “fifth wheel,” in a prime spot at the Disney resort. Employees can walk to Fort Wilderness’ attractions, including nightly campfires, the pool and the lodge.
The losers of the monthly raffles needn’t despair. Lazydays also discounts employee stays on its own 300-site campground on 120 acres behind the Interstate 4 sales center.
Unlike the Disney resort, the Lazydays campground doesn’t feature campfire sing-alongs by cartoon chipmunks Chip ‘n Dale.
The Hillsborough County (Fla.) Bar Association has selected Harold Oehler, general counsel for Lazydays RV Center Inc., as its Corporate Counsel of the Year for 2009, according to Reuters.
The association will present this award Thursday in Tampa. John Horton, CEO of Lazydays, will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony and will speak on the topic, “Navigating Your Business Through a Challenging Economy.”
Oehler was selected for his part in guiding his company through one of the most difficult periods in the history of the RV industry, for leading his company’s efforts to help at risk children in the Tampa Bay area and for his work to strengthen the RV industry and improve public safety.
For the past 10 years, Oehler has served as general counsel for Lazydays. In 2007, he played a major role in obtaining the passage of Florida’s first RV dealer protection law which helped strengthen Florida RV dealerships across the state. The following year, Oehler spearheaded a nationwide safety campaign to improve vehicle weight information provided to travel trailer owners in order to prevent vehicle overloading, a leading cause of blowouts and rollovers. Traveling the country at the beginning of the economic downturn, Oehler recruited competing dealers and manufacturers to work together on this issue. His efforts ultimately helped improve safety standards for RV users and their families.
On the local level, Oehler helped his company’s employees create a non-profit foundation to benefit at risk children in the Tampa Bay area. The Lazydays Partners Foundation has since raised $400,000 to build The Lazydays House, which is part of A Kid’s Place, Hillsborough County’s first emergency foster care facility. The Lazydays House provides children who have been removed from abusive situations with a child-friendly environment, medical care, counseling and schooling from licensed professionals. At The Lazydays House, siblings can even remain together until they are placed into a foster home.
The Foundation has also funded college scholarships for 50 underprivileged children in the Tampa Bay area. Each “Lazydays Scholar” signs a contract to maintain a certain grade point average and remain drug and crime free in order to receive their scholarship. Funding for The Lazydays House and the Lazydays Scholars is provided almost entirely by weekly payroll deductions voluntarily made by Lazydays employees.
“I am humbled by this award, but it truly is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by the employees of our company who chose to focus on our customers and the kids they wanted to help, during a very challenging time in our industry’s history,” Oehler said. “I accept this award on their behalf.”
The Lazydays Partners Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed by the employees of Lazydays in order to enhance their ability to support children’s causes. The mission of the foundation is to “measurably change the lives of children by instilling hope, inspiring dreams and empowering them with education.” The foundation is funded primarily through payroll deductions pledged by employees of Lazydays. Working in partnership with other non-profit organizations, the Lazydays Partners Foundation has generated gifts to children’s causes in the Tampa Bay area of over $1 million. For more information visit www.ldpf.org.