Millennium Luxury Coaches, a Sanford, Fla., company that converts high-end Prevost bus shells, is one of 50 businesses that will receive the ”2011 Florida Companies to Watch” award during a ceremony Thursday (Feb. 17) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.
”We were thrilled to find out that we were being considered for it, and when we found out we had won, we were very excited,” said Evelyn Figueroa, vice president of the 62-employee converter that she and her husband, Nelson, founded in 2001.
The award is presented to ‘’second stage” Florida firms with between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue or working capital that have demonstrated ”the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership (or) sustainable competitive advantage,” according to a news release.
The company converts about a dozen Prevost coaches a year — 70% of which are built on spec — that are marketed at Millennium’s own rallies and at major U.S. RV shows, Evelyn Figueroa told RVBUSINESS.com. Retail prices for new conversions range from $1.5 million to $1.8 million, depending on the configuration of slideouts in the Prevost chassis.
Between new units, trade-ins and consignments, Millennium sells about 30 units a year, she said. ”We are selling some to people who are on their second and third coach,” she said.
Millennium also refurbishes Prevost-based motorhomes for existing owners. ”We do anything from installing a new DVD player to a $300,000 remodel where we redo an entire interior,” Figueroa said.
Millennium operates out of a 100,000-square-foot factory east of Orlando that includes separate remodeling, collision and paint centers.
Although some high-end manufacturers went out of business or saw retail sales dip sharply during the recession, Figueroa said Millennium didn’t feel the effect.
”We never had a decline in business,” she said. ”Actually, last year was the best year for our company and we expect to do better this year.
”When everybody else went into recession mode, we expanded,” she added. ”That’s not to say that we took lightly what was going on around us. But by diversifying our business and increasing our market share, we didn’t feel the recession. We already are taking orders for next year. We can’t build as many as we could sell.”
The ”2011 Florida Companies to Watch” award is sponsored by state-funded GrowFL economic development initiative, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute at the University of Central Florida and the Florida chapters of the Association for Corporate Growth, in association with the Michigan-based Edward Lowe Foundation.
Prevost, the leading North American manufacturer of premium touring coaches and conversion coaches for high-quality motorhomes, has launched a new website designed for the motorhome market. The new website is at http://motorhome.prevostcar.com/.
The new site presents all aspects of the “Prevost Difference” – the lifestyle of Prevost owners, the commitment to quality of the people who make the finest motorhomes in the world and the talented converter partners who customize Prevost motorhomes to customers’ specifications, according to a news release. In addition, the site highlights Prevost’s commitment to service.
“This new site is a user-friendly environment for those interested in Prevost motorhomes, giving them a chance to explore everything we have to offer,” said Mike Power, director of marketing communications. “At Prevost we are constantly looking for ways to improve upon the customer’s experience, and the new website is no exception to that commitment.”
One of the many unique features of the site is the “Adventures” series, which gives owners a chance to share the experiences they have had with their Prevost. To kick off the website, Prevost showcases Fall Color Tours and a tailgating adventure at the University of Michigan. Additional adventures, places to see and places to stay will be incorporated as the site grows.
Visitors can share their own Prevost adventures through the company’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Prevost/185461153519?ref=ts.
Prevost is a leading manufacturer of premium intercity touring coaches and the world leader in the production of conversion coaches for high-end motorhome and specialty conversion. Owned by Volvo Bus Corp., it has access to the financial strength, research capability, and manufacturing expertise of the group. Volvo Bus Corp. is part of the Volvo Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engines. Prevost has its main manufacturing facilities in Sainte-Claire, Quebec, Canada, and has seven parts and service centers located in the United States and Canada.
Prevost has met the stringent quality and environmental standards to achieve ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification. It was the first motor coach manufacturer to achieve ISO 9001 certification and is the only manufacturer to achieve ISO 14001 certification.
Lawyers for Country Coach Holdings LLC, its landlord and the government cleared the way Tuesday (Jan. 26) for the defunct RV maker’s assets to be sold at auction next week.
The Junction City, Ore., company is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, meaning everything it owns — from office furniture to industrial equipment as well as motorcoaches — must be sold off to pay creditors, according to The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.
In this case, Wells Fargo Bank is the main secured creditor, meaning it gets paid first when Country Coach’s personal property is sold. If anything is left over, then other creditors would get paid.
Wells Fargo was owed more than $8.4 million when Country Coach filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. The Chapter 7 trustee, Ken Eiler, has estimated the auction will bring in more than $5 million. The auction is scheduled for Feb. 4 at the Country Coach plant.
The bank has agreed to set aside $200,000 to cover costs associated with administering the auction and winding down the company.
Country Coach owes Lane County about $100,000 in property taxes, and Wells Fargo and Lee Joint Venture, which owns much of the property on which the Country Coach plant sits, are working to pay off the tax debt, Eiler said.
Eiler has hired Commercial Industrial Auctions to conduct the auction with help from Hilco Industrial.
Four bus shells built by a third party will be omitted from the auction because of a dispute over who owns them.
Prevost, a Canadian manufacturer of bus chassis, said it provided Country Coach with four of its bus shells, valued at $500,000 each, but has never been paid. Under its business agreement with Prevost, Country Coach normally would take the shells on consignment, convert them into luxury motorcoaches and pay Prevost when it sold the coaches.
Christopher Kayser, a Portland attorney representing Prevost, said Wells Fargo is not entitled to the four bus shells because Country Coach never owned them. Wilson Muhlheim, a Eugene lawyer representing Wells Fargo, said Prevost allowed its security interest in the shells to lapse.