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Park Models Make Splash at RVIA Trade Show

December 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Skyline's Shore Park

A perceptible change was afoot Nov. 27-29 at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th Annual National RV Trade Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville: The prevalence of park models set up among the sprawling 730,000 square feet of traditional motorized and towable RVs.

Not since the mid-1990s when they parted company with RVIA had the park trailer manufacturers been such a serious factor as Louisville Show exhibitors. Now that their Georgia-based Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) has been shelved and they’ve been welcomed back as RVIA members, a total of 10 park trailer builders were displaying 2013 product at the Louisville Show.

Among them were Skyline Corp., Forest River Inc.’s Park Model Division, Athens Park Homes/Champion, Breckenridge, Chariot Eagle, DNA Enterprises (Canterbury), Dutch Park Homes, Fairmont Homes, Kropf Industries Inc. and Woodland Park.

“The feeling was very positive. It goes to the whole notion they are part of the overall RVIA family again,” said Matt Wald, RVIA’s recreational park trailer executive director. “Both psychologically and from the traffic flow, they felt it was a good deal for them.”

RVIA created a new membership category in July for park trailer builders, and, by year’s end, 18 manufacturers representing about 95% of annual park trailer production had joined the Reston, Va.-based trade association. Two other applications are currently pending. “We had anticipated having 15 members,” said Wald. “We have exceeded our expectations. Everybody is happy about that.”

All but two of the new members were affiliated with RPTIA, which still exists in name only. “A couple of OEMs are still not in the RVIA family, but we would love to have them aboard,” said Wald, noting that there’s a new page on the association’s website pertaining to park trailers with a link to annual shipment figures and other information. “Some are waiting to see if this ‘marriage’ works before investing in it. We think it is a value proposition they can’t stay away from.”

Skyline’s display was as prominent as any at the Louisville Show. In fact, Skyline, headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., has opted to resume park model production at its manufactured housing plants in Wisconsin and Oregon based on the dealer response to its Louisville Show park model exhibit, reports Mike Scheid, division general manager of Skyline’s Leola, Pa., plant.

Skyline showed a Shore Park-brand unit built in a manufactured housing plant and using a host of manufactured housing componentry like residential-style drywall, said Scheid, adding that his plant picked up eight to 10 new dealers at Louisville and business looks to be up 25% to 35% again this year. Skyline’s Canadian business also is growing.

Forest River Park Model Division, also based in Elkhart, showed three new park model floorplans at Louisville. Even though the company’s display was in “an obscure corner of the northwest wing,” dealers came to buy. “Our product changes were well received,” reports account representative Gary Duncan. “Dealers came with a purpose.”

Forest River has targeted its marketing toward campgrounds, a hospitality arena that Wald calls “one of the hottest growth areas” for park models because of the fact that so many campgrounds are buying and leasing these units – many of them with rustic aesthetics — to first-time campers and others without RVs in what amounts to a burgeoning “cabin” style of accommodation.

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Cavco Reports Drop in Sales, Earnings For 2Q

November 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Cavco Industries Inc. today (Nov. 1) announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months ended Sept. 30, of its fiscal year 2013.

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 totaled $110 million, down 15.3% from $130 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Net income for the fiscal 2013 second quarter was $2.7 million compared to $3.2 million reported in the same quarter one year ago.

Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the quarter was 18 cents, versus basic and diluted net income per share the previous year of 24 cents.

For the first six months of fiscal 2013, net sales totaled $228.8 million versus $229 million for the comparable prior year period. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2013 was $2.1 million compared to $11.9 million last year. Net income for the six months ended Sept. 30, 2011, included one-half (or approximately $11 million) of the bargain purchase gain recognized from the Palm Harbor transaction, which closed on April 23, 2011. This bargain purchase gain allocation was consistent with Cavco’s ownership percentage of Palm Harbor.

For the six months ended Sept. 30, 2012, net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was 30 cents versus basic and diluted net income per share of $1.73 and $1.72, respectively, for the prior year period.

Referring to the fiscal 2013 second quarter results, Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, said, “Net sales were lower for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 compared to the same quarter in the prior year for various reasons. These include fewer homes sold this quarter, lower average sales prices from a product mix skewed toward lower price-point homes, and competitive pricing pressures. Adversely impacting the number of homes sold was a larger proportion of internally financed wholesale sales, up 49.8% this quarter versus the second quarter last year, resulting in delayed recognition of the related revenue, consistent with applicable accounting principles. The company also modestly grew the proportion of factory sales to company-owned stores, which defers revenue recognition until the home sale process to the consumer is complete.”

 

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Pinnacle Park Homes Reporting Sales Increase

September 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Park model builder Pinnacle Park Homes Inc. reports increased sales for 2012, according to a press release.

“We are proud to say that our year-to-date unit volume is up 15% over 2011,” said Andy Davis, sales manager for the Ochlocknee, Ga.-based company. “But what is even better is that our sales dollars are up 30%. With new floors and more choices available, consumers are buying. Combine that with the fact that financing has been easier to obtain, it is not surprising that our numbers show an increase.”

Owner Randy Stewart Jr. added, “We are predicting that our third quarter numbers will show a net growth of 20% in unit sales and 33% in dollar volume states. This is based on current activity, but we would not be surprised to pass both levels when the quarter ends in two weeks.”

For more information visit www.pinnacleparkhomes.com.

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Heartland Launches Fairfield Destination Trailer

September 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland's Fairfield destination trailer

Responding to dealer input and growing consumer demand, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced the launch of its all-new Fairfield destination trailer during the Sept. 18-21 Elkhart County RV Open House.

“Our team is very excited for the Fairfield launch,” said General Manager Nick Eppert. “This new product will combine the floorplans, features and price points that dealers have been asking for.”

Chris Hermon, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, noted, “Many of our dealers have urged Heartland to become a strong player in the destination trailer business. Nick and his product team have focused on making Fairfield the ultimate destination trailer. We are thrilled with the results and are anticipating a successful debut at the Open House.”

Initially, the Fairfield will be available in seven 40-plus-foot floorplans, all featuring wide-body construction and a standard atrium design fiberglass cap. Units will also be equipped with double and triple sliderooms.

Heartland stressed a residential feel and functionality in Fairfield’s interior décor, set off by upscale cabinetry, upholsteries and accents. The kitchen area is appointed with a free standing range, 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator and a residential microwave.

“Price points will be key with the Fairfield,” Eppert said. “A host of available options will allow dealers to order Fairfield destination trailers to fit their markets’ needs.”

Heartland will be showing product at the Open House as part of parent Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. For more information on the Fairfield destination trailer contact Eppert at (574) 266-8726 or nick.eppert@heartlandrvs.com.

 

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Woodland Park Plans September Open House

August 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Park model builder Woodland Park Inc. will be holding its Open House Showcase Sept. 18-21 at its manufacturing headquarters in Middlebury, Ind.

According to a press release, the dates will coincide with the 5th Annual Elkhart County RV Open House, set to run Sept. 17-21 throughout the industry’s manufacturing hub.

“We are excited to spend this time with all of our dealers and their staff and look forward to spending more personal time with all of them,” said Daryle Lambright, North American sales manager.

Lambright said that Woodland Park would be showing models for both the Canadian and U.S. markets, including the “largest display of custom-built park models in Elkhart County.”

He added, “We’ll feature exciting new residential options in décor, furniture, appliances and wood finishes, touches that give Woodland Park homes that contemporary designer feel. The dealers will also have the opportunity to meet our staff, ask product questions and learn more about Woodland Park products and how they can thoroughly satisfy a dealer’s clientele.”

Hours for the open house are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Woodland Park will also be conducting sales training seminars for dealers on alternating schedules and a dealer’s luncheon is slated for Sept. 18 at 11 a.m.

 

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Park Models Offer Doable Second-Home Option

July 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When Cleyardis Yilmaz joined Thousand Trails two years ago and gained access to all of the company’s recreational vehicle resorts and campgrounds in North America, she didn’t know it would change her life.

According to a report in the Virginian-Pilot, the eighth-grade English teacher visited a campground in Orlando, Fla., in 2010, rented a cabin and discovered she enjoyed the vacation so much that she wanted to find a campground closer to her Virginia home in Lakeview.

She not only found Outdoor World Williamsburg, just off Interstate 64 near Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Yorktown and Jamestown, but she also found a second home – called a “park model” cottage – that she was able to purchase.

The 28-foot-long unit sits smack dab in the middle of the RV resort, close to the indoor and outdoor pool, adult hot tub and pickleball and miniature golf courses.

Yilmaz makes the 45-minute-to-an-hour drive every weekend to visit her unit, tend to her plants on the deck and partake in the park’s amenities.

“I’m enjoying the adult lounge,” Yilmaz said recently during one of the hottest days of the summer. “I’m working on a puzzle right now.”

While these units are nothing new to the outdoor recreation industry, more and more resorts are selling them and offering sites on their properties where people, like Yilmaz, can get away and own a second home without shelling out a lot of money.

“In the last few years, with the economy being what it is, it’s become – for Middle America – an affordable second-home option,” said David Gorin, executive director of the Virginia Campground Association (VCA).

The park models – called that because they can be parked anywhere – also are know as “recreational, transportable homes,” “park trailers,” “cabins” or “cottages.”

Legally, park models are recreational vehicles, Gorin said, and always have a place in RV parks. But they mainly stay put.

Basically, they are suites of no more than 400 square feet that come in all kinds of configurations, Gorin said.

“In many parks, they are there as rental units,” Gorin said. “If you want to go to an RV park, and you don’t own an RV, you have an option of renting a cabin or park model.”

To read the entire article in the Virginian-Pilot click here.

 

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RVIA Officially Welcomes Park Trailer Members

July 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

First RVIA standards plant inspection of a recreational park trailer manufacturing plant

After reaching an agreement in March with the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) to represent recreational park trailer manufacturers as members, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) officially welcomed 16 park trailer companies as members on July 2.

According to a news release, RPTIA significantly scaled back operations and members services on the same day as part of the two-year trial period stipulated in the agreement.

“The park trailer industry is excited to be back in the RVIA fold. The RVIA standards, inspection and seals process, combined with phenomenal PR and government affairs capabilities are what compelled us to keep working to find a place at the RVIA table. It’s a great day,” said Fairmont Homes’ John Soard, chairman of the newly-formed RVIA Recreational Park Trailer Committee.

Recreational park trailer manufacturer members of RVIA are now fully integrated members of the organization with all the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as manufacturers of any other RV type.

As a result, the first RVIA standards plant inspection of a recreational park trailer manufacturing plant took place on July 3 as RVIA inspectors fanned out across the country to inspect park trailer manufacturers to the ANSI A119.5 standard, which in turn allows RVIA park trailer members to affix the new RVIA A119.5 seal to the units they produce.

Park trailer members are served within RVIA by a full-time dedicated executive director, Matt Wald, who spent the last eight years in the RVIA government affairs department. “It has taken a lot of work over the past three months to integrate our new park trailer members into RVIA. But that effort was just the beginning. Next up will be strategic planning, where we will map out the priorities and opportunities for the park trailer segment of the RV industry. And once we’ve planned the work, we will work that plan,” said Wald.

According to RVIA President Richard Coon, “This is a classic win-win. RVIA is made stronger with the inclusion of park trailer manufacturers, and the park trailer OEMs will be very well served by RVIA.”

 

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California KOA to Begin Selling ‘Deluxe Cabins’

June 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Cavco park model

Through a new partnership with Cavco Industries Inc. and Reliable Home Solutions, the Stockton Delta KOA will begin selling park model cabins at its site in Lido, Calif. According to a press release, a dozen units are currently being sold at prices ranging from the mid-$40,000 to the mid-$60,000 range.

The Stockton Delta KOA is the first KOA campground in the western United States to sell the new Deluxe Cabins. “We think they’re going to sell like hotcakes,” said Scott Haar, general manager of the 400-site Stockton KOA.

“Having a vacation cottage at the Stockton KOA is going to be very attractive for people who are looking for affordable ways to have a weekend getaway cabin or vacation cottage,” added Gene Davis, president of Sacramento-based Reliable Home Solutions, which is marketing the units on behalf of KOA and Cavco.

The 400-square-foot park models are manufactured by Phoenix-based Cavco, which has been building park model cabins and cottages for use as private vacation cottages in campgrounds for nearly 20 years.

While park models have been used as vacation cottages in campgrounds throughout much of Arizona, Texas and Florida as well as the Midwest and East Coast regions, they are just now being introduced in campgrounds in the West, and even then mostly as rental accommodations.

“We think the market is ready for this,” Davis said, adding that people are already bringing their friends to see the demonstration park model that was recently set up at the Stockton KOA.

Consumers who purchase the units will also need to pay a lease fee to keep their units at the KOA. Annual site lease costs range from $900 to $1,900 for the first year, but will jump to $3,960 to $5,400 for each year thereafter, Haar said, adding that the rent will include water, sewer, Wi-Fi and trash pickup as well as security at the park.

The Stockton KOA has 400 campsites, including 21 Deluxe Cabins and three Airstream trailers.

For more information about Stockton KOA, visit www.stocktonkoa.com.

 

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Park Model Controversy Over at Maine Resort

June 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Life is almost back to normal at Flagg’s RV Resort, as seasonal residents return to the York, Maine, RV park.

SeacoastOnline reported that there are an estimated 30 recreational vehicles in the York Beach campground that once held more than 80 RVs, and six new “park models” have replaced the larger, cottage-looking units the town ordered removed last year. Amid the controversy, many campers left Flagg’s, moving to Camp Eaton in York, or north to a campground in other areas.

“I’m one of the 30 that stayed the course,” said Pat Lee, who is back at Flagg’s with her husband Jack Lee. “I’m optimistic. I’ve been in the park 50-plus years. Seasons come, seasons go. I think this too shall pass.”

Last spring, Flagg’s management asked an estimated 10 seasonal residents to remove their trailers to make way for six new park-owned cottage-style units. The new park models were to be rented for overnight, weekly or longer stays.

York’s Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal ordered the park models removed, saying they did not fit the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle. Town code does not allow manufactured housing in the park.

Flagg’s appealed the order, and when it lost the case with the town’s Appeals Board, brought a lawsuit against McDougal and the town to York County Superior Court.

The sides reached an agreement this spring. Flagg’s had to remove the six units but could replace them with RVs that met the town’s definition of a recreational vehicle.

Flagg’s is also able to attach a “Florida room” or “add-a-room” to the new units. The agreement allows Flagg’s to have RVs not to exceed 8½ feet in width in travel mode. The wheels need to stay on the RV, and must be capable of being transported without the assistance of a commercial truck, according to the consent judgment.

New units have been moved into the park, but are not yet set up for occupancy, according to those interviewed. McDougal said he has yet to inspect the new units to make sure they fit the standards of the order, but would do so soon. York’s case was precedent setting. McDougal said last year he received numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who wanted to know how York handled the issue.

Flagg’s RV Resort LLC is owned by Morgan RV Resorts LLC in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., which owns numerous RV parks nationwide. Robert Moser, who heads Morgan, said the new units at Flagg’s are eight feet wide. The company has yet to decide whether to bring in more park-owned units, or seasonal recreational vehicles, to fill the vacant sites.

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Wyoming County Still Backing Park Model Ban

May 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Teton County commissioners in western Wyoming will pay an attorney $150 per hour to oversee a Buffalo Valley property owner’s appeal of a land-use ruling.

Commissioners agreed to hire attorney Mike Barton to handle an appeal hearing for Buffalo Valley RV Resort owner Harry Washut, who contends he should be allowed to bring recreational park trailers onto his property without special approval from county planners, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported. Even if Washut prevails, commissioners said they are not sure he would be allowed to bring recreational park trailers to his property.

Washut is challenging a decision made in March by Planning Director Jeff Daugherty that recreational park trailers are unlike other recreational vehicles in that they are semi-permanent. Recreational park trailers or park models are hard-sided units that sit on a chassis. They are hauled to campgrounds, where they are connected to electric and sewer services.

Commissioners questioned Washut’s appeal because a new set of rules has been put in place that regulate the use of recreational park trailers at campgrounds. Washut asked Daugherty to review the use of recreational park trailers under an old set of rules, which commissioners said would no longer apply to his project.

Attorney Melissa Owens, who is representing Washut, argued that the units are similar to other recreational vehicles and that Washut should be allowed to bring the recreational trailers to his property, regardless of changes to the county’s land-use rules. Owens and attorney David DeFazio filed an appeal in April.

Commissioners agreed to stop planning staff from forcing Washut to remove three recreational park trailers he already has at his campground.

Planning staff said the units were illegally brought to the campground. They held off taking action while Washut had a pending application. When he withdrew it, county staff sent a letter to Washut that threatened legal action if he did not remove the units.

In return, Washut’s attorney promised that he wouldn’t bring any more trailers to the property while the appeal was pending.

Washut has been trying to bring recreational park trailers to his property for two years. He went through several reviews and meetings with county staff and elected officials but was unable to secure approval of his request, through which he initially asked to bring more than a hundred recreational park trailers to his property. Washut faced a stiff challenge from a neighboring ranch owner, who hired a former state attorney general to oppose Washut.

Commissioners were nearing a decision on the project in April, but Washut withdrew his application, saying that he did not believe he needed special permission from the county to bring the units to his land. Washut is the only campground owner still fighting with the county about the trailers.

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