Rue Mapp has spent many nights camping in tents and sleeping bags with her three children. But, according to a press release, when the Oakland family visit the Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA in La Selva Beach this weekend, they’re going to try something new – two nights in a cozy park model cabin, known as a “lodge” in KOA parlance.
“Park model cabins are the newest additions at many campgrounds across the country, so we wanted to check them out for ourselves,” said Mapp, who is becoming increasingly well known for her pioneering work to reconnect the African American community with camping and other outdoor recreation activities through OutdoorAfro.com.
The website, which Mapp started three years ago, encourages African Americans across the country to network with one another to plan outdoor recreation activities together, such as hiking, camping, biking, climbing and river rafting.
Mapp, in fact, has gained so much notoriety for her website, that she is frequently invited by the White House to share her ideas on ways to better engage African Americans in healthy activities in the Great Outdoors.
Two years ago, the White House invited Mapp to participate in the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. She was subsequently invited to participate in a White House brainstorming session for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, offering her ideas and insights on ways to engage Americans to become more involved in outdoor recreation activities.
This year, the White House invited Mapp to attend the National Parks Centennial and to assist the Department of Interior with her input on ways to engage African American families in outdoor recreation.
“I understand how families can improve their physical and emotional well-being through camping and other activities in nature,” Mapp said, adding that the cabins that KOA and other campgrounds now provide are important because these rental accommodations makes it possible for people who don’t have camping equipment or RVs to participate in the camping experience.”
Mapp plans to shoot video, blog and tweet about her experiences camping this weekend.
KOA is sponsoring Mapp’s trip in cooperation with the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), which is supporting Mapp’s efforts to actively promote camping and other outdoor recreation activities in the African American community.
For more information on OutdoorAfro.com and on Mapp’s upcoming camping trips, please contact Rue Mapp at (510) 913-6100 or email her at email@example.com.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has named Matt Wald to the newly created position of park trailer executive director, according to a press release.
RVIA and the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) recently reached an agreement for park trailer manufacturers to join RVIA as members. One of the conditions of that agreement was the creation of the park trailer executive director position within RVIA to guide association efforts for this membership segment on a daily basis.
RVIA will begin soliciting and accepting companies as park trailer members in April. Wald will officially assume the executive director position on July 2, spending the interim time transitioning from his current role as government affairs director.
“I’m excited to welcome Matt to this new role representing park trailer manufacturers,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “With his strong government relations and public affairs background, he is uniquely qualified to serve the interests of the park trailer industry both within RVIA, but also more importantly to the world.”
In his new role, Wald will be responsible for promoting and protecting the interests of park trailer manufacturer members, including: monitoring and acting on federal, state and local legislative issues; preparing, analyzing and distributing market data and demographics; managing the ongoing process of creating and updating the ANSI A119.5 national safety standard for park trailers; serving as the liaison between RVIA and the media to promote the recreational park trailer industry as well as acting as an industry spokesperson with government agencies, industry trade groups and at industry trade shows. He will also serve as staff liaison and manage the affairs of RVIA’s newly-formed recreational park trailer standing committee.
Wald has worked as RVIA’s director of government affairs since 2003 with the responsibility of lobbying state and federal governments on issues impacting the RV industry. Before joining RVIA, Wald served as director of federal and state government programs at the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. He also was director of government affairs for both the American Subcontractors Association and the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
After a year of dispute, the town of York, Maine, and Flagg’s RV Resort LLC have come to an agreement over new seasonal units moved into the York Beach camper park last spring.
Seacoastonline.com reported that under the agreement, the six park model units in question must be removed within 60 days. Flagg’s will then be allowed to replace the units with RVs that meet the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle.
The agreement allows Flagg’s to have RVs not to exceed 8 1/2 feet in width in travel mode. The wheels need to stay on the RV and they need to be capable of being transported without the assistance of a commercial truck, according to the consent judgment.
The consent judgment also allows, after application for a building permit, the installation or attachment of a “Florida room” or “add-a-room” as allowed in other campgrounds. Flagg’s also agrees to pay York $1,000 to cover town costs and attorney fees.
The consent judgment dismisses a pending action in York County Superior Court brought by Flagg’s after Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal issued the park a Notice of Violation and Order for Correction Action on June 28 that was upheld by the town Board of Appeals in September.
Flagg’s owner, Robert Moser, argued the six units that were “park models” were recognized in the industry as recreational vehicles. McDougal disagreed, saying they more closely resembled dwellings and were therefore not allowed in the park by town ordinance.
Moser is president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a company that owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. They’ve had no other problems with park models in other towns, he has said.
Last spring, Flagg’s told an estimated 10 seasonal residents of the park to move out their privately owned RVs to make way for the new units.
The owner of Flagg’s RV & Cottage Resort LLC in Maine’s York Beach wants to settle a lawsuit brought against the town for ordering six new, cottage-like park models removed from its grounds, according to Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal.
“I would hope that this could be settled in the next month or so,” McDougal said.
Seacoastonline.com reported that McDougal said he could release no further details, but if a settlement is reached it will go to the Board of Selectmen for approval.
Flagg’s owner Robert Moser said Monday (March 12) he knew his attorney, David Ordway of Saco, was working with the town on a settlement agreement. He referred further comment to Ordway, who could not be reached. Moser is president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a company that owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. They’ve had no other problems with park models in other towns, he has said.
Last spring, Flagg’s management told 10 RV owners in the park to remove their recreational vehicles to make way for the new six park models. One seasonal Flagg’s resident said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, while the park models rent for an estimated $1,400 a week.
McDougal inspected the units and ruled they did not fit the definition of an RV by town ordinances because they, unlike street-legal RVs, need to be escorted as “wide loads” when in transit; do not have wheels underneath when parked; and have air conditioning condensers and propane gas tanks freestanding on concrete pads versus being attached as normally found on RVs.
Flagg’s took its case to York County Superior Court after the York Board of Appeals in September, and again in October, upheld McDougal’s June 28 Notice of Violation & Order for Corrective Action ordering the park models removed from the park. McDougal said the park models violated town ordinance density standards as the new units more closely resembled manufactured housing than recreational vehicles, as claimed by Flagg’s.
The June 28 town order said violations of the town’s zoning ordinance are subject to fines or $100 to $2,500 per day for each violation. It is unknown whether the potential settlement agreement is related to the fines that could be levied by McDougal should Flagg’s lose its case in superior court, the removal of the units, or both.
York was the first town known to have challenged the national RV industry trend of moving park models into camper parks. The park models are recognized in the industry and by state and federal standards as recreational vehicles, according to Moser.
Park models have become the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
“Recreational vehicle parks have determined they can increase their cash flow and bottom line as a RV park if they do more rental use than just allowing people to bring in their own units,” Garpow said in July.
Contention continues between Lake Adventure Community Association and Dingman Township near Hawley, Pa., over allowing 12-foot wide park models. In the latest round, the Lake Adventure Community Association has filed appeals of the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, the News Eagle, Hawley, reported.
On Jan. 5, 2012, Judge Dan Pellegrini, on behalf of a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, issued a ruling which rejected various positions taken by Lake Adventure in opposition to Dingman Township’s Zoning Ordinance. Judge Pellegrini affirmed a previous decision that the Township Zoning Hearing Board is the proper place for a decision on the merits of the claims of Lake Adventure. Pellegrini further stated that those claims are without merit.
Lake Adventure issued a statement this past week noting that the community is pursuing all legal avenues to pursue the expansion and replacement of older RV park trailers with the new 12- foot wide park models.
“Lake Adventure cannot forgo its property owners’ legal rights” stated Tammy Clause, chief legal counsel for Lake Adventure. “There have been many misrepresentations about the Lake Adventure Community Association regarding the operations of Lake Adventure Community and the placement of 12-foot wide recreational vehicle park trailers which require clarification.”
According to the township, Lake Adventure takes the position that the township has no power to regulate what types of recreational vehicles could be placed within Dingman Township.
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Pinnacle Park Homes Inc., a park model and camping cabin manufacturer based in Ochlocknee, Ga., reported an increase in year-over-year sales in January.
According to a press release, this month’s sales have surpassed January totals from 2010 and 2011.
“While 2010 and 2011 were very good years for Pinnacle Park Homes, we can see 2012 being even better,” said Sales Manager Andy Davis. “We are continuing to add new floorplans that meet the needs of campground owners.”
Owner Randy Stewart Jr. added. “We have asked for input and have received many suggestions that have been implemented in our newest floorplans.”
Stewart said that numbers were boosted by a rise in destination camping. For more information on Pinnacle Park Homes call 866-574-5159 or visit www.pinnacleparkhomes.com.
The Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) is surveying its 45 members on their opinion about reuniting with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Votes will be tallied the end of the month and the RPTIA board will go from there, RPTIA Executive Director William Garpow told Woodall’s Campground Management.
An affirmative vote would put the RPTIA into a state of suspension dependent upon subsequent actions by the RPTIA and RVIA boards, Garpow said.
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Tim Howard, founder and president of Thor Industries Inc.’s Breckenridge Division, a recreational park trailer builder in Nappanee, Ind., will retire Feb. 1.
Howard announced his retirement Wednesday (Jan. 5) in an e-mail to about 150 friends and business associates.
”I’ve been in the industry since 1977 in one way or the other,” Howard told RVBUSINESS.com. ”It’s wonderful to be able to go do things that I want to do. The industry has given me a wonderful 35 years and the opportunity to pursue other interests as I retire.”
Breckenridge National Sales Manager Denise Walsh will become general manager and Vice President Junior Doty will become vice president of operations.
”Both have years of experience at Breckenridge and they are the best in the business,” Howard said.
Howard, 57, founded Breckenridge in 1991 as a stand-alone division of Damon Corp. after a 10-year stint with Mallard Coach Corp. and shorter periods of employment with Coachmen Industries Inc. and Georgie Boy Manufacturing Inc.
At the time, Damon was owned by Don Pletcher, a well-known industry executive.
”The idea was to create an autonomous company within a company,” Howard said. ”They had their resources in place, which made the fundamentals of starting a new enterprise very smooth. They already had a design department, an accounting department and other things that helped us as a startup.”
Breckenridge, currently with about 100 employees, down from a high of around 200, operated as a Damon division until after Damon was acquired by Thor in 2003 and functioned as a unit of Thor Motor Coach until a couple of years ago when it became part of Thor’s Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.
Howard, who sold his ownership stake in Breckenridge in 2003 when Thor purchased Damon, said he has no immediate plans in retirement other than to spend time with his wife, Judi, in their permanent home in Goshen, Ind., and summer home in St. Joseph, Mich.
”I have been involved in the community and local church and I want to pick and choose what I do,” Howard said.
He hasn’t ruled out a return to the RV industry. ”It could be fun helping some friends in the industry if they needed help,” he said. ”I would be interested if it would be fun.”
Acknowledging that the park trailer sector currently ”is not thriving,” Howard said that he delayed retirement longer than he might have because he didn’t want to leave Breckenridge in the lurch in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
”I’ve planned for a long time for this stage of my life,” he said. ”I didn’t want to retire when the industry was facing a full-blown hurricane. I chose this time to retire because the trajectory of the park model industry right now is very, very good. Everything is going in the right direction.”
Roger Faulkner, president of General Coach Canada, announced today the appointment of Heather Millar to the position of vice president, International Markets.
General Coach, a builder of park models and cabin trailers located in Hensall, Ontario, has undergone some major developments in the last year, inventing patent-pending shipping methods and designing products that meet a variety of international needs, including: resort lodging; actor trailers; disaster-recovery housing; humanitarian housing; and commercial facilities.
Faulkner said that Millar will be charged with developing and growing new marketing opportunities “from around the world.”
General Coach has already shipped large orders to England and China and experienced favorable response to the new line of portable housing from several other countries, including Grenada, Haiti and India.
Millar can be reached at 519-262-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frederic Lepitre and wife Chantal Theriault rented a condo when taking their first family vacation in Florida several years ago.
According to a report from the Fort Myers News-Press, it was comfortable, but not the ideal environment for the couple’s four active offspring, he said.
This week, the family from Quebec is ensconced in a 12-foot-by-33-foot park model trailer at the Naples/Marco KOA. It rents for $145 a night this time of year, and boasts a flat-screen TV, full kitchen, bunk beds — and separate master bedroom.
“Nobody wants to do primitive anymore,” said Ted Mangels, manager of the KOA off State Road 951, east of Marco Island.
The campground setting, with its swimming pool, shuffleboard and bicycle rentals makes it easier for Lepitre’s children, ages 13 to 17, to play outside.
“We don’t want to pull an RV here all the way from Canada,” Lepitre said. “That’s a 27- to 28-hour drive. And, it’s really good to have a cabin with a full bathroom.”
Like Lepitre and family, more people are spending weekends holidays and vacations in campgrounds. And, because not all guests own RVs or care to rough it in a tent, many commercial campgrounds are responding by purchasing and installing cabins and cottages with all the comforts of home.
More than one-third of the nation’s privately owned campgrounds offer upscale rental accommodations, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
The trend includes independently owned campgrounds and some of the biggest chains in the country, including the Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America.
In south Lee County, the San Carlos RV Park stretching along Hurricane Bay has eight one- to three-bedroom manufactured homes available for rent. It used to have 19, “but we traded them out for big-rig sites,” said Carolyn Morrissette, who owns the park with her brother, Dave Kline. Those big rigs mainly are 40- to 45-foot-long motor homes that campers bring in for their stays.
For campgrounds in Florida, park model cabins are a win-win, according to Garpow: First, they attract snowbirds and vacationers during camping’s high season from December through mid-April.
And, when the weather gets hotter and more rainy, these cabins “extend the camping season into the summer, when Florida families go on weekend getaways,” said Garpow, a former Tampa resident who now lives in Georgia.
A growing number of seasonal Florida residents also are buying park model trailers to install on property they rent or purchase from an RV resort or campground.
Retail prices range from about $25,000 to $60,000, with an average in the mid-$40,000s, Garpow said.
A recreational park trailer with wheels is considered an RV if its area is less than 400 square feet. However, in Florida, bigger models are permissible in campgrounds if they are built to current hurricane wind codes, said Joe Follman, Ocala-based sales manager for Chariot Eagle Inc., a maker of park model homes.
Said Follman: “We’re seeing growth all over the state.”
RV Comfort Systems has introduced a new stand-alone, all-electric forced air heating system for park model trailers.
According to a press release, the new system does not require a gas furnace to be hooked inline with the electric heater. It has its own fan with cabinet and works with the RV Comfort System’s CheapHeat controller and electric heater. This system is UL certified and RVIA compliant in both the United States and Canada.
The system consists of a multi-position combination-ducted/plenum cabinet that allows the tri-stage heater element to be installed from either side so the system can be used in multiple locations. The press release stated that one of the product’s best features is that a trailer manufacturer is no longer required to place the furnace next to an outside wall for venting, which provides more flexibility in its floorplans.
RV Comfort Systems is based in Bothell, Wash., and is the OEM patent holder for the CheapHeat electric heating system for recreational vehicles. The company will be making its new system available for public purchase on Jan. 1. More information is available by calling 425-408-3140 or visiting www.rvcomfortsystems.com.
The Lake Adventure Community Association (LACA), representing a campsite development in Milford, Pa., is taking on the local township again with regard to placement of 12-foot-wide park models.
As reported by the Pike County Courier, in a recent statement to the press, the association said it has been requesting for the last year, that Dingman Township officials recognize one-piece 12-foot-wide recreational vehicle park trailers as a natural expansion of recreational vehicles for placement in Lake Adventure.
Since Lake Adventure’s inception in the early 1970’s, park models equipped with a full slideout have been placed in the community. Prior to 2010, Dingman Township did not require any placement permits for any type of recreational vehicle or recreational vehicle park trailer in Lake Adventure.
Despite what the release claims has been Lake Adventure’s best efforts to provide Dingman Township with voluminous and adequate documentation that one-piece 12-foot-wide recreational vehicles are now standard in the camping industry, and better for the community as a whole, Dingman Township continues to prevent the placement.
“As with the last instance, the latest news release from Lake Adventure Community Association misses the point,” according to a statement in response from the Dingman Township Supervisors.
“LACA has never applied for an amendment to its zoning/subdivision and land development approval to include these newer non-travel trailer types of units. They have been told repeatedly that this is the proper procedure and they refuse to do so. Although the township has attempted to negotiate LACA has not even responded to our letters and it is clear that this process has been abandoned by them.”
Kropf Industries Inc., a manufacturer of luxury park model homes, has been Certified Green by TRA Certification Inc.
According to a press release, the company’s building practices and materials have earned them bronze status and Kropf is now labeling homes with Certified Green labels. The Goshen, Ind.-based builder reached the requirements for the following evaluated categories: Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality and Operation & Maintenance.
Kropf park model homes incorporate LED lighting, Energy Star refrigerators, low-flow toilets and sustainably harvested OSB. They also recycle cardboard, copper wire, aluminum and steel.
For more information on Kropf Park Models visit www.kropfind.com. For more information on green certification, visit www.certifiedgreenrvs.com or contact Mandy Leazenby at 1-800-398-9282.
Cavco Industries Inc. today (Nov. 3) announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of its fiscal year 2012 ended Sept. 30.
Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $130 million, up 183% from $45.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, according to a news release.
As previously reported, Fleetwood Homes Inc., a subsidiary owned 50% by Cavco and 50% by Third Avenue Value Fund (TAVFX), completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and assumption of certain liabilities of Palm Harbor Homes Inc. during the quarter ended June 30, 2011.
Palm Harbor had been in the business of manufacturing and marketing factory-built housing and providing related consumer financing and insurance products. The aggregate gross purchase price, exclusive of transaction costs, specified liabilities assumed and post-closing adjustments, was $83.9. The results of the Palm Harbor operations have been included in the consolidated financial statements since acquisition.
Net income for the fiscal 2012 second quarter was $3.2 million compared to $1.2 million reported in the same quarter one year ago. During the quarter, the company incurred $120,000 in acquisition-related costs for the purchase of the Palm Harbor Homes assets and expects to have additional transaction-related expenses during the remainder of fiscal year 2012.
“We are glad to report positive earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Cavco benefited from higher order rates during the quarter, which translated into improved results compared to recent quarters and demonstrates the operating leverage we believe exists in the Cavco group of companies,” said Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, while commenting on the quarter.
Interest expense of $1,916,000 was recognized during the second quarter of fiscal 2012, primarily related to securitized financings and a mortgage construction lending facility of the finance subsidiaries acquired.
Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for the fiscal 2012 second quarter was $1.6 million compared to $680,000 reported in the same quarter one year ago. Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was 24 cents versus basic and diluted net income per share of 10 cents last year.
For the first six months of fiscal 2012, net sales increased 145% to nearly $229 million from $93.4 million for the comparable prior year period. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2012 was $23.8 million compared to $2 million last year. Included in net income for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2011, was a gain on bargain purchase of $22 million resulting from the acquisition of Palm Harbor, as adjusted during the fiscal 2012 second quarter and calculated in accordance with the accounting standards for business combinations.
Until recently, Cavco Industries Inc.’s marketing reach was largely confined to the Western half of the United States, with most of its park model sales occurring within a few hundred miles of its factory in Phoenix.
According to a press release, it wasn’t until 2006 that Cavco opened a factory in Texas, which gave it access to the Texas market.
But with its recent acquisitions of Fleetwood Homes and Palm Harbor Homes, Cavco said it now has more production facilities than any other company in the park model business.
“It gives us a strategic advantage,” said Joseph Stegmayer, Cavco’s president and CEO, “because having multiple facilities lowers the freight costs for campground operators who purchase Cavco park models.”
Cavco’s Rocky Mount, Va., factory was the first to broaden its product lines to include park models, which it did last year. This year, however, Cavco is also producing park models in Woodburn, Ore., Napa, Idaho, Austin, Texas, and Plant City, Fla.
Combine the multiple factory locations with Cavco’s increasing innovations
in park model designs, which now include off-grid solar-power park models and custom designed units for Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and other companies, and it’s easy to see how Cavco has managed to achieve at least modest sales growth at a time in which most companies continue to struggle with the recession.
“I think we have to be somewhat cautious given the economy overall,” Stegmayer said. “But there are a lot of positives to our park model cabins. There’s the lower price points, the affordability aspect. We’re also willing to try anything. We’ve done a lot of prototyping of various units, not only in the campground arena, but in the dealer arena, and that helps us a lot. It helps us bolster our reputation for being very flexible, very creative.”
This has helped Cavco increase its business with KOA, which holds its annual convention in Las Vegas next week. It also enables the company to participate in upcoming tradeshows elsewhere in the country, including the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show, which takes place Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky., and the Outdoor Hospital Convention and Tradeshow, which the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is hosting in Savannah, Ga., from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. Cavco will also showcase its park models at the Tampa RV Show, which is slated for Jan. 10.
And while Cavco has derived much of its park model business from campgrounds the past couple of years, the company is also seeing renewed signs of interest from consumers who want to purchase a park model and have it set up in a campground for use as a weekend retreat or vacation cottage.
“It’s a much lower investment than investing in a second home or condo or even a large RV,” Stegmayer said.
For more information on Cavco’s park model products, visit www.cavcoparkhomes.com.