Lazydays in Seffner, Fla., has been named Tiffin Motorhomes’ No. 1 dealer for 2010. The Red Bay, Ala.-based Class A motorhome manufacturer announced its top dealers today (Aug. 23) in a news release.
Lazydays opened in 1976 in a mobile home on a leased 1.75-acre lot with two travel trailers in inventory and $500 in capital. In 1996, Lazydays moved into its 126-acre SuperCenter, which has more than 1,000 motorized and towable RVs on display, 273 service bays and a 300-site RV park.
The other Top Tiffin Dealers for 2010 are Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores in Sante Fe Springs, Cal.; La Mesa RV in San Diego, Cal.; North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, Fla.;, Davis Motorhome Mart in Memphis, Tenn.; Horizon Lussier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Bankston Motor Homes in Huntsville, Ala.; Dixie RV SuperStores, in Hammond, La.; Vogt RV Centers USA in Fort Worth, Texas; Colton RV in North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Marlin Ingram RV Center in Montgomery, Ala.; and Bucars RV Center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Tiffin Motorhomes, founded in 1972, received one of three prestigious 2009 Quality Circle Awards presented by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) to Class A motorhome manufacturers for design, reliability, quality, value and competitive price.
Tiffin has earned the Quality Circle Award 11 of the 14 years it has been presented by the RVDA in connection with its Dealer Satisfaction Index. The 2009 survey included 1,644 brand ratings from 322 dealers. Quality Circle Awards are made to manufacturers receiving at least 15 dealer responses and scoring at least 80% in overall dealer satisfaction.
In addition to the consumer-related categories of the survey, Tiffin also was recognized with the Quality Circle Award for exemplary warranty, parts, sales and communications support to dealerships.
For additional information including dealer locations visit www.tiffinmotorhomes.com.
Thousands of recreational vehicle enthusiasts from every state and province in North America celebrated the RV industry’s centennial at The Rally, a four-day extravaganza at the Kentucky Exposition Center, July 22-25.
An estimated 10,000 attendees – including those staying onsite in 2,867 RVs and 5,000 day pass visitors – demonstrate a boom in the RV industry with consumers showing their commitment to the lifestyle they enjoy. The event also pumped more than $11 million into the local Louisville economy, according to a news release.
Attendees browsed the latest and greatest RV models from 42 RV manufacturers and dealers and enjoyed 350 product booths displaying the newest RV products, gadgets and services.
Fleetwood RV Inc., one of the largest motorhome manufacturers in the country, significantly exceeded sales projections, while Lazydays, a leading RV dealer, sold 20-plus units. Pat Terveer, national sales director for Newmar Corp., another leading RV manufacturer, said the company had good results that included selling six of the seven motorized models it displayed at the show, including its luxury new amenity-packed, 2011 Essex diesel motorhome, a $650,000 model. Camping World, which was an exhibitor in both the RV Sales and RV Accessories areas, reported strong sales results as well.
“All in all, we exceeded expectations and The Rally couldn’t have gone better,” said Mike Schneider, CEO of Affinity, parent company of The Rally’s hosts. “Our exhibitors came to Louisville hoping to have a good show and they had a great show. When you put these folks together with our consumers, it gives us a powerful buying group that spends money on the lifestyle they love.”
For more than a decade, the annual Rally event has been hosted by Affinity, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events. Affinity’s family of affiliated companies, including the Good Sam Club, and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines, works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles. Headquartered in Ventura, Calif., Affinity is leading the industry’s rebound by connecting consumers directly with manufacturers through The Rally and its 34 other consumer shows held annually across the country.
“The Rally demonstrates what we talk about everyday – we enhance the outdoor experience through connecting our partners with consumers,” said Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Affinity Media/RV and a key organizer of The Rally. “We provide invaluable services to our members and, in turn, help advertisers connect with their target audiences. We produced a wonderful event for attendees, which created fantastic sales for exhibitors.”
The Rally celebrated the 2010 RV centennial in two big ways.
- A special living display of 20 vintage RVs was organized in “Vintage Village,” showcasing models from 1937-1978.
- Bob Livingston, senior vice president of Affinity Media, took 50 families on a sold-out pre-Rally Centennial Caraventure, which gave RVers an inside look into RVs, past and present.
Rounding out The Rally’s extensive event schedule, RV industry gurus presented more than 150 educational seminars, while stand-up comic Bob Newhart and legendary country music artist Tanya Tucker performed during its nightly entertainment program. New this year was “The Rally’s Got Talent” contest featuring a wide variety of acts and interesting talents on Sunday evening, July 25.
The Rally Dog Show, “Kentucky K-9s!” returned for the seventh year. Pet adoptions were also held with the Louisville Metro Animal Services where 12 pets found new homes as a result. Both are popular, recurring events in which Rally-goers showcase their love for their beloved four-legged co-pilots.
For updates on The Rally 2011, taking place in Redmond, Ore. July 14-17, visit www.therally.com, Twitter at www.twitter.com/therally, and Eons by clicking on www.eons.com/groups/group/the-rally. Information and pictures can also be found on The Rally Facebook group page at www.facebook.com/therally.
The Rally is hosted by the following Affinity companies: the Good Sam Club, Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines, Trailer Life and Woodall’s Campground Directories, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts and Camping World President’s Club.
Volunteers from Lazydays, an RV dealership in Seffner, Fla., and the city of Tampa Police Department teamed up Sunday (June 27) to replace the old, leaking roof on the Resources in Community Hope (RICH) house, a local safe haven operated by the police department where kids can go after school to study and play in a safe, supervised environment, according to a news release.
The Lazydays “Dream Team” of volunteers was joined by police officers and roofing contractor Michael Martin, owner of Curtis Martin Roofing, who donated professional labor and expertise to the roofing job. Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor stopped by to thank the volunteers for helping out in the community.
The Resources In Community Hope house is a local safe haven operated by theTampa Police Department since 2001. Located in the Sulphur Springs area of Tampa, R.I.C.H. house provides a safe place for kids to go after school to study and play.
Seffner, Fla.-based Lazydays announced today (May 25) that it has added the Entegra Coach Inc. line of luxury diesel motorhomes to its inventory of Class A coaches.
Entegra Coach is the signature line of the Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco family of companies, the world’s largest privately-held manufacturer of recreational vehicles, according to a news release. The Entegra Coach line features four diesel coaches: the Insignia, the Aspire, the Anthem and the Cornerstone.
To mark the beginning of this alliance with Lazydays, nine members of Jayco’s management team visited Lazydays Monday and today for a tour of the company’s operations and the opportunity to introduce Lazydays’ sales force and service technicians to the Entegra Coach line. Visitors included Wilbur Bontrager, chairman and CEO, and his brother, Derald Bontrager, president and COO. Other members of the team included Entegra Coach’s general manager, national sales manager, customer service managers, plant supervisor and regional sales manager.
“Lazydays is very pleased to carry the Entegra Coach line of luxury diesel RVs,” said John Horton, CEO of Lazydays. “The addition of these coaches is an important part of our strategy to serve our luxury diesel customers. Jayco has a strong reputation for integrity in the RV industry and we welcome them as a business partner.”
“Lazydays and Jayco share the overarching desire to provide our customers with the highest quality products and unmatched customer service,” added Wilbur Bontrager. “Lazydays has a renowned reputation and is one of the most successful RV dealerships in the country. We’re delighted to have them as a dealer for our signature Entegra line.”
Lazydays celebrated the 2010 “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” in style. Family style, that is. More than 80 daughters and sons of Lazydays employees recently took part in an all-day event filled with fun and learning at the company’s 126-acre campus in Seffner, Fla., according to a news release.
“For the fourth year in a row, Lazydays has encouraged employees to bring their daughters and sons to work so the children can see the dedication and passion we have for our jobs,” said Debbie Dube, director of human resources at Lazydays. “This year, more than 80 children had a fabulous day full of fun, learning, food and entertainment. They went home with smiles on their faces and goody bags in their hands.”
The day began with breakfast for the children and their parents at the Lazydays Café. The children were photographed for real Lazydays ID badges and posed for photos with their parents.
The children learned how Lazydays operates on a daily basis by viewing demonstrations by Lazydays technicians on how to troubleshoot electronic devices, how electricity flows through a circuit and how a propane system works. In addition, employees from various departments within Lazydays shared information about what their jobs entail.
They also participated in a Customer Service Training session and watched videos explaining how passionate Lazydays is about providing excellent customer service while maintaining an atmosphere of energy and fun.
The children had a great time testing their creative cooking skills by making their own pizzas for lunch and ice cream sundaes for dessert. Later, it was time for a golf cart tour around the Lazydays property and “RV-101,” where they learned about the different classes of RVs.
At the end of the day, the children received goody bags and left Lazydays knowing a lot more about what their parents do every day at work.
Lazydays RV was recently named one of Tampa Bay’s Top Work Places 2010 by the St. Petersburg Times. Lazydays was nominated by its employees, who were then surveyed about a variety of topics.
One of only 20 mid-sized companies to achieve such an honor, the survey was designed to objectively assess the desirability of a given workplace and focused on company culture, leadership, compensation and training, workplace flexibility, diversity, community benefit through charity work and how Lazydays handled the recent economic downturn.
“This report is significant because it is an unprecedented effort to understand how Tampa Bay’s companies are creating strong, productive work environments, even in difficult economic times,” said Neil Brown, Times executive editor and vice president. “We share the stories of the employees and offer an inside look into what’s working and where there’s opportunity to grow.”
Lazydays CEO John Horton told Lazydays employees, “The road our company has traveled upon in the recent past has been a rough one; yet each of you has risen to a level of excellence. You’ve come together as an unbreakable family in a way that should be the envy of our community. Your determination, dedication and passion have made certain that the Lazydays family will remain strong and committed to our customers for years to come.”
When Wanda DeLaRosa, executive director of It’s All About Kids, needed help transforming a 6,000-square-foot space in Tampa’s University Mall into a state-of-the-art afterschool learning lab for underprivileged kids, she placed a call to Lazydays, an RV dealership in nearby Seffner, asking for any aid the RV dealership could spare.
Lazydays responded by sending the “Dream Team,” a dedicated and diverse group of employees who voluntarily donate their free time and labor to construction and renovation projects that benefit needy kids throughout the community, according to a news release.
Despite the event taking place during Lazydays’ busiest time of the year, the Dream Team members were more than willing to donate their free time toward what they collectively believed was an important project.
“I don’t have a lot to give so I give of my time to help others,” said Lazydays Glass Shop Technician and Dream Team volunteer Richard Rainey. “It’s very rewarding to know that by putting my technical skills to use I can benefit many of our community’s disadvantaged children.”
Skills are not the only asset Rainey brought to the job; he also brought a trailer packed with his personal tools to aid his team of fellow volunteers and craftsmen in completing the renovation.
Upon taking in the finished results, DeLaRosa fought back tears as she acknowledged the role the Lazydays Dream Team played in helping her organization realize a long awaited dream.
“It’s overwhelming to see so many people stop their lives to give,” she said. “The Lazydays Dream Team volunteers work hard to support their families by day and by night they take time away from their loved ones to help make our community a better place. It means so much to us all.”
Fleetwood RV Inc. was awarded best motorized outdoor display during the Florida RV SuperShow, which ran Jan. 13-17 in Tampa, Fla.
Fleetwood’s display was co-managed by one of its top dealers, Lazydays, and featured a variety of 2010 products including American Eagle, Discovery, Tioga as well as the brand new Encounter, Fleetwood’s first crossover motor home, according to a news release.
“We’re honored to have been recognized as the best motorized display,” said John Draheim, president and COO of Fleetwood RV Inc. “We had a great location, traffic was better than expected and our products were well received. All of this combined with the great sales leadership of our dealer partner, Lazydays, helped make the SuperShow an excellent way to kick off the retail show season.”
“The success of Fleetwood’s SuperShow display is a tribute to the strong relationship Fleetwood and Lazydays has maintained for over 20 years,” said Snow Chamberlain, event coordinator for Lazydays. “We worked together to not only showcase Fleetwood’s high-quality products, but to also give our customers the best experience possible. The result was a very successful show for everyone.”
Twenty miles away from would-be gawkers and the hubbub surrounding Derek Jeter’s Davis Islands digs, a sprawling, castle-like structure is taking shape on the edge of central Florida’s Lake Thonotosassa.
A gate partially shields the view of a vast lawn that leads to the beige stone exterior of the third-largest mansion in the county. It will be home to Lazydays founder Don Wallace and his family, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
The posh features of this 27,008–square-foot behemoth, detailed in building plans, are enough to make McMansions blush in shame.
Two pools? Check. Sauna and steam rooms? Uh-huh. An elevator? Of course. And don’t forget the bar, billiard room and bowling alley.
Plans for this mega-mansion sound like an episode of VH1′s The Fabulous Life or the classic Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Now, channel your inner Robin Leach.
When the rich and famous move to the country for more space, they really know how to use it. Drawings show plans for a croquet lawn and baseball diamond.
When Wallace and his wife, Erika, want to relax, they can head down to their basement to visit the massage room, or for a little activity, they can hit the gym.
Outside, the couple can dip their toes into one of their pools or grill steaks at their outdoor kitchen. Nearby, giant garages will shelter the Wallaces’ extensive luxury car collection.
The first floor features plenty of room for them to entertain. There will be a game room, men’s lounge, his-and-hers offices and a parlor.
On the second floor, they’ll have a master bedroom the size of a small apartment. And forget his-and-hers sinks. The Wallaces have plans for his-and-hers bathrooms.
Moving on up
The Wallaces’ 13,033-square-foot Mediterranean-style home on Bayshore Boulevard doesn’t compare to the estate being constructed at 12321 Fort King Highway.
It promises to be Tampa Bay’s very own Hearst Castle.
With 27,008 square feet of heated space (about 40,000 total), it will be the third-largest home in the county, excluding Jeter’s Davis Island home, which the county Property Appraiser’s Office hasn’t measured yet.
The largest home is gold dealer Mark Yaffe’s Avila mansion, at 28,295 square feet, and the second-largest, at 22,898 square feet and also in Avila, belongs to former corporate raider Paul Bilzerian.
We’d love to know the price tag on the Wallaces’ new digs, but the Property Appraiser’s Office hasn’t assessed it.
The Wallaces’ home on Bayshore Boulevard dwarfs all others on the street.
Controversy swirled in 1997 when Don Wallace tore down the historic Swann House to make room for the mansion, much to the chagrin of neighbors.
The house made headlines again in 2009 when records showed Wallace was the biggest water user in 2008 in the Tampa Bay area. He used more than 6 million gallons of water at his Bayshore home, enough to fill the average backyard swimming pool every day for a year.
Wallace didn’t respond to interview requests left with a family spokesman. But in a 2008 interview with the Times, he said that he and his wife wanted a home with plenty of space for their young children to play.
“They can get on a boat and water ski, ride motorcycles and go-carts and four-wheelers, and play ball and ride a horse and watch a cat be born,” he said.
He estimated that construction would likely continue for another 2 1/2 to three years.
Can he afford it?
Well, we don’t know. But the Wallaces sure are rich.
Don Wallace and his family started Lazydays in 1976 with $500, a mobile home and two travel trailers. It grew to a company with annual sales of $800 million, and its 126-acre complex in Seffner became the largest single-site RV center in the country.
The recession hit the business hard. The company laid off more than 200 employees. In September, the company, led by CEO John Horton, struck a deal with bondholders to eliminate its $137 million debt through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. It filed in early November.
Wallace sold portions of the business in 1999 and 2004 but remains a primary stockholder. Bankruptcy filings show that he’s one of four entities that own 10% or more of the company’s equity.
A woman claims her husband burned to death inside his truck because a poorly installed television set in an oncoming motorcoach fell from its mount, bonking the driver on the head. The driver’s wife tried to steer the vehicle but it struck the truck, which burst into flame, killing the truck driver.
The widow, Roxane Rodriguez Leal, sued the retailer that provided the motorcoach, Lazydays in Seffner, Fla., according to the Courthouse News Service.
She claims Monaco Coach Corp. designed and built the 2004 motorcoach with a defective TV mount over the driver’s seat. “Monaco received customer complaints regarding televisions falling out of the area in which they were installed, but the company failed to address those complaints,” she says in the suit.
She did not, however, sue defunct Monaco Coach. Instead, she sued Lazydays, from whom Don Tolner and his wife bought their motorcoach. The Tolners are not named as defendants either.
Leal claims the Tolners’ motorcoach drifted onto the median on southbound U.S. 77 in Texas, which dislodged the TV and dumped it on Don Tolner’s head, “rendering him unable to drive the vehicle.” His wife tried to regain control but failed, and “steered it into the tractor unit that Jose Luis Leal was driving northbound on U.S. 77. As a result of the collision, the tractor unit caught fire, and Jose Luis Leal burned to death,” according to the complaint.
Leal and her two minor children seek damaged for medical and funeral expenses, loss of her husband’s income, and her husband’s death, pain and suffering.
They are represented by Robert Ammons of Houston.