For the second straight year, Pete’s RV Center earned the No. 1 ranking among Vermont dealers, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
“Everybody here at the dealership is very pleased with this achievement,” said Todd McGinnis, vice president of sales for the South Burlington dealership, in a press release. “After being awarded 2011’s No. 1 Vermont dealer, our team goal was to stay on top. We wouldn’t be number one again without the efforts of an incredibly hard-working staff.”
McGinnis also acknowledged the company’s customers, noting, “Thanks to the loyalty of our customer base, personal referrals were at an all-time high last year. We love it when new shoppers walk through our doors for the first time and mention they found about Pete’s RV from a neighbor or family member.”
With a significant product line expansion this year, Pete’s RV is “highly motivated” to retain its No. 1 status in 2013. A reputable Keystone RV Co. dealer for more than a decade, Pete’s RV is now carrying Forest River, Heartland, and Crossroads RV-branded travel trailers, fifth-wheels, and toy haulers.
Pete’s RV Center is marking its 60th year of operation. According to a press release, Peter and Trudy Dispirito purchased the Thibault Farm property in South Burlington, Vt., on Aug. 22, 1952, and started a welding and travel trailer sales business. Sixty years and thousands of customers later, the RV dealership is still at the same location. Along with the name change from Pete’s Trailer Mart to Pete’s RV Center in 1986, the dealership has gone through major structural upgrades and employs some 30 more employees than when the company was founded. “The dealership today is certainly bigger and better, but we haven’t forgotten the importance of putting customers first,” said co-owner and treasurer Dave McGinnis. “We feel this commitment coupled with selling high-quality products are primary reasons why Pete’s RV has continued to maintain a successful business for six decades.” With the addition of a second dealership in Schererville, Ind., in 2011, and the dawn of the Internet, Pete’s RV provides sales, service and parts to customers throughout the United States and Canada.”While our customer base now stretches out to just about every state and province in North America, our excellent reputation remains just as strong as back when Pete Dispirito was working hard taking care of his local customers,” added McGinnis. “In fact, we were blown away by the outpouring of birthday wishes and kind words sent by Pete’s RV Facebook followers who live all over the U.S and Canada.”
According to the August report from Statistical Surveys Inc., Pete’s RV Center captured a 47.3% market share in travel trailer and fifth-wheel sales for the state of Vermont.
Pete’s RV, which operates stores in South Burlington, Vt., and Schererville, Ind., is an exclusive Keystone RV Co. dealership.
“Whether working in sales, service or the parts store, all of our employees understand the need to provide customers with the best possible experience,” said Todd McGinnis, vice president of sales for Pete’s RV, in a press release. “The excellent numbers published in the August RV sales report for Vermont is a reflection of their hard work.”
Pete’s RV reported that the next closest competitor posted a 14.9% market share. The dealership noted that Keystone, a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary, held the top five spots in the August report and Pete’s RV carries eight of the nine brands appearing in the report’s top 20 best sellers.
“Keystone RV is a good fit for our dealership,” McGinnis said, “Along with strong product lines, they share the same commitment to customer service as Pete’s RV. We work closely with their organization to ensure our sales and service teams are properly trained and knowledgeable.”
He added, “There’s no doubt selling RVs is an important part of our business, but it’s not the only thing. Happy customers are return customers. Performing excellent service after the sale, warranty work and scheduled maintenance on our brands are also factors in Pete’s RV and Keystone RV shining in the August report. We look forward to carrying on this trend for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012.”
South Burlington, Vt.-based Pete’s RV Center has finalized the acquisition of Rollin-On RV, established in 1977 and located just 34 miles from Chicago in Schererville, Ind.
Pete’s RV co-owner and treasurer Dave McGinnis explained the acquisition was an amicable one, noting, “We’ve had a great, longstanding relationship with Rollin-On RV over the years. There are lots of similarities in how we run our dealerships including being family operated. With owner Paul Craven looking to step out of the business after nearly 35 successful years, it definitely piqued our interest when the opportunity arose to buy Rollin-On.”
Like Pete’s RV, Rollin-On RV is an exclusive dealership for Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV Co. “With our Indiana location, Pete’s RV can expand and grow our customer base, providing the same excellent sales and service our Vermont, Northeast U.S and Canadian customers have enjoyed for almost 60 years,” McGinnis said.
Pete’s RV is retaining the services of the employees at Rollin-On RV. Kris Craven was named the general manager of the Indiana dealership and is excited about the dealership’s growth opportunities under Pete’s RV. “Knowing Pete’s RV as long as we have, the Indiana team and I are very much looking forward to combining our experience, plus the omnipresence of two dealerships, to reach a much larger community of RVers,” Craven said.
Editor’s Note: The following story first appeared in Pete’s blog at www.petesrv.com that promotes Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, Vt.
Pete’s RV Center of Vermont experienced a 200% increase in Canadian sales in 2010.
Customers traveled to the South Burlington dealership primarily from northeastern provinces Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The longest trek was by a St. John’s, Newfoundland, customer who traveled more than 1,500 miles to pick up his new Keystone Cougar fifth-wheel.
The recent strength of the Canadian dollar is no doubt a big factor in the increase, but Pete’s RV Sales Manager Todd McGinnis points out the dealership’s geographically-favorable location.
“Being located in northern Vermont and less than 50 miles from the border makes it convenient for Canadian buyers to travel into the United States and purchase an RV from our dealership. It also doesn’t hurt that we are so close to downtown Burlington, Lake Champlain and surrounding mountains. With so many shopping and recreation options, most of our customers make a long weekend out of their trip to Vermont.”
If Canadian customers choose not to lodge at a local hotel or campground, they can take advantage of an overnight stay at the dealership. Customers access outdoor electrical and water hook ups, allowing them to enjoy the comforts of their newly purchased camper or motorhome.
McGinnis elaborated on the increase in sales, crediting experience as another factor in why Canadians will continue to buy from Pete’s RV regardless the value of their dollar.
“There’s no doubt Canadians are currently saving quite substantially when buying here in the U.S., but our knowledge on how the purchase and importation process works definitely helps everything go smoothly – especially the paperwork. We’ve been doing this for many years. Whether picking up from the dealership, or even meeting them at a specified border crossing, Pete’s RV ensures a positive buying experience for Canadian customers.”
Importing an RV into Canada is not as complex as one may think. While policies are always subject to change, it’s typically less than $300.00 CDN in import fees, and there is no waiting period for non-motorized vehicles such as travel trailers and fifth wheels. Documentation and fee requirements for RV importation into Canada are outlined and referenced on the Pete’s RV website.
One indication that Vermont could be headed for a stellar camping season this summer is that sales of recreational vehicles are picking up in a big way. That could reflect a shift toward less expensive vacations closer to home, according to WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.
Dave McGinnis, a partner with Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, said, “It’s been really good. We’ve had to hire two new technicians, a salesman — a couple of sales people. So you know, we’re adding personnel. So I think the campgrounds can expect a good season this year. I think there’s gong to be a lot of interest in camping in Vermont.”
The fine weather this past weekend lifted economic prospects as Vermont and other places struggle with the aftershocks of the recession. But there are signs that things may be getting better,
Vermont state parks don’t open until Memorial Day, with the exception of half a dozen that will open earlier in May. By opening day several new construction projects will be finished, including solar-powered bath houses. There will be one for each of more than two-dozen Vermont state parks with overnight camping, thanks to capital spending authorized by the Legislature last year.
Forests & Parks Commissioner Jason Gibbs said, “While a lot of states are moving away from investing in their state parks system and in fact are having to make the difficult decision of closing parks or dramatically contracting their operations, Vermont’s moving in exactly the opposite direction.”
Gibbs says Vermont state parks cover 90% of their operating budgets through fees. And he says the improvements are likely to bring additional benefits to the economy and taxpayers. He says reservations for state parks are up 10% over last year.
Gibbs added, “Of course, the more people we get into our parks, the more money they’re spending in the local economy and the better it is for the entire state. But also, the more visits we get to our parks the better bale we are as an organization to reduce our reliance on taxpayers in difficult times.”