Equalizer Systems, an Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturer of leveling and lift systems for RVs and other vehicles, has entered the RV aftermarket following a recent growth spurt.
According to a press release, the new commitment to aftermarket sales includes a Platinum Sponsorship with iRV2.com, one of the largest online RV communities. Equalizer said it will be using the popular site to promote its new lift and leveling systems for fifth-wheels and Class C and Class A motorhomes. Along with advertising, Equalizer personnel will actively monitor the site to offer visitors advice on leveling issues related to RVs.
“This new investment in the RV aftermarket is the logical next step for Equalizer to grow its presence in the RV community,” said Jason Loose, outside sales representative for Equalizer. “For ease of use and rugged dependability, Equalizer offers an affordable, high-quality system that is unmatched by our competitors, and we want to make it more available to the RV user and the RV dealer. Our reputation is well established among manufacturers, and our product line has seen exceptional growth in recent years. We now want to build on that growth and reputation around the RV campfires and at RV dealerships.”
For dedicated do-it-yourselfers and RV service centers, new Equalizer components offer an enhancing add-on for new units as well as a significant upgrade for older RVs.
“Automatic, push-button leveling for a variety of camping situations goes a long way toward simplifying and improving the enjoyment of RV camping,” said Loose. “With a very affordable price point, our system provides a great add-on offering at the point of sale for dealerships and a great value-added option for RVers who don’t want the added fuss and less-than-dependable operation of other systems out there.”
To further facilitate aftermarket add-ons, Equalizer has also established an online store featuring systems and parts for quick and easy ordering by both RVers and RV service centers. The company will also be providing a direct-from-the-factory installation facility in Elkhart, complete with overnight parking with electric for RVers who want to bring their units by for an upgrade.
Loose said effective customer service would also be a priority in the aftermarket, noting, “Our service staff is dedicated to seeing that RV owners and dealers are satisfied every step of the way. This includes a 24/7 Tech Support Line for emergencies as well answers to many questions on our Service & Support web page.
“This is a great new adventure for us and we’re looking forward to establishing some great relationships with RV users and dealers. We believe those relationships will serve to make our product better and RVing better — for everyone.”
To access the online store and more information about Equalizer Systems and components, visit www.equalizersystems.com.
Aftermarket supplier Coast Distribution System Inc. announced the expansion of its Canadian products line to include Dometic replacement parts.
According to a press release, Coast dealer partners throughout Canada will have greater access to Dometic OEM parts for these systems, which are used extensively in today’s RVs. In addition, consumers will benefit from quicker repairs and less time waiting for Dometic parts because Coast Canada has stocking warehouses located near their local dealerships.
“Our dealer partners will enjoy giving a positive answer when asked how long it will take to complete a repair or to get Dometic parts for their RV,” says Sly Lussier, senior vice president and general manager of Coast Canada. “We believe this extension of our RV replacement parts program will better serve the dealers and retail customers in the Canadian market by offering greater availability and accessibility to Dometic branded parts.”
Coast is a leading supplier to RV, marine, towing and outdoor power equipment retailers across North America. For additional information visit http://www.coastdistribution.com/.
Goshen, Ind.-based Lippert Components Inc. reported steady growth in its Mobile Outfitters division, which began operations in early 2012. According to a press release, the unit sells branded aftermarket RV and trailer products through warehouse distributors that supply RV dealers, and has continued to expand the network during the past year.
The Mobile Outfitters’ offerings include the Correct Track II alignment system, Ground Control automatic leveling system, Never Fail Bushings, Equa-Flex suspension systems, the integrated keyless entry system RV Lock, Solera awnings, All American Hitch fifth-wheel hitches and RV mattresses through their Traveler’s Sleep Center collection.
“The Mobile Outfitters has a two-pronged approach towards improving the mobile lifestyle for RV enthusiasts and specialty trailer owners,” said Mobile Outfitters’ General Manager Steve Paul. “First, is to channel the vast array of unique products that LCI has developed over decades of serving manufacturers in the RV and specialty trailer markets through warehouse distributors to dealers and consumers. Second, is to create a full line of RV accessory and safety innovations flowing from hands-on RV camping and field research resulting in new technologies that consumers need and demand.”
Mobile Outfitters recently showcased its aftermarket products at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show.
“We are very pleased with the success of our Mobile Outfitters aftermarket display at the 2012 RVIA trade show,” said Paul. “Our booth, as well as the LCI booth were busy all day, every day of the show. The comments we received were very positive. We intend to continue building The Mobile Outfitters’ brand by offering new, innovative products to additional distributors and dealers throughout 2013.”
To support its sales effort in Canada, Stag-Parkway has hired Gordon Edgar and Christian Fauteux as outside sales consultants.
“Servicing the market effectively means having feet on the street,” said Craig Mellor, senior vice president of sales, in a press release. “We knew going in that we would need professional salespeople from Canada spearheading our sales effort. We feel very fortunate to have found Christian Fauteux and Gordon Edgar to fill that role.
“Their experiences in Canada and working with retailers throughout the region will provide valuable insight and direction to ensure we treat the Canadian market and its dealers as unique with unique needs.” Fauteux comes to Stag-Parkway with 10 years of sales and sales management experience in consumer electronics working for Cerwin-Vega, Polk Audio and Logitech. Fauteux will have primary responsibility for eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Edgar joins Stag-Parkway after 20 years of sales experience in consumer and industrial goods working for Home Depot, Home Hardware, Sears, PetSmart, Boeing, Timex and Wal-Mart. Edgar will have primary responsibility for western and northern Ontario.
Aftermarket supplier Coast Distribution System Inc. reported mixed results for its third quarter, ended Sept. 30, showing a drop in earnings on a 9.2% increase in sales.
Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Coast reported net income of $307,000, or 7 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2012, compared to net income of $612,000, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2011. For the nine months ended, Coast recorded a net loss of $534,000, or 12 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $553,000, or 12 cents per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2011. The decline in net income in this year’s third quarter and the loss for the first nine months of 2012 were primarily attributable to declines in gross profits, along with increases in selling, general and administrative expenses in both periods.
Net sales for the third quarter increased by to $34.5 million compared to $31.6 million a year ago. In the nine months, net sales increased by 3.7% to $92.8 million from $89.5 million in the same nine-month period of 2011. Those increases were primarily the result of increased sales in new distribution channels of the company’s Powerhouse generators and other RV products to large mass merchandisers, which is a new distribution channel for Coast.
“We continued to face challenging conditions in our markets throughout the year to date, but we have reason for optimism surrounding the future of our business,” said Coast CEO Jim Musbach. “Sales of our proprietary products into new distribution channels positively impacted our net sales during the quarter, and we will continue to foster this early success as we build these channels and explore new opportunities. We are also continuing to work on balancing pricing and product costs to improve our overall margins, including fostering the growth of our proprietary products.
“In looking at the broader recreational industry, recent consumer confidence surveys suggest improvement among consumers in the United States, which we should provide more favorable conditions as consumers become more comfortable with discretionary spending associated with the purchase and usage of RVs and boats.”
Third-quarter gross margin declined to 16.5% from 18.1% in the same quarter of 2011, due primarily to an 11.3% increase in costs of sales which more than offset the beneficial effect on gross margin of the increase in net sales during this year’s third quarter. In the nine months, gross profits fell by $1.2 million to $14.7 million resulting in a decline in gross margin to 15.8% from 17.8% in the same nine months of 2011. These declines in gross margin were the result of price reductions on selected products that Coast implemented in response to aggressive price competition in the market, as well as a weakening of the Canadian dollar, as compared to the U.S. dollar. In addition, the company incurred additional costs primarily attributable to quality control testing of new models of proprietary products introduced into the market place in this year’s third quarter and an increase in the warranty reserve for proprietary products as a result of increases in sales of those products.
On the balance sheet, accounts receivable increased $72,000, to $9 million at Sept. 30 from $8.9 million last year. Inventories were $30.7 million, an increase of $2.5 million compare with a year ago. The increase in inventory levels from the prior year was a result of Coast’s efforts to increase sales and its market share of the company’s proprietary products.
To view the entire report click here.
Stag-Parkway’s Professional Retail Organization (PRO), a dealer continuing education program now in its third year, has seen a 75% increase in the number of certified dealerships.
In 2010, 56 dealerships became certified compared with over 225 certified dealerships as of Aug. 1, 2012, according to a press release. Registration in PRO has also increased significantly with over 1,200 dealer personnel now registered representing 743 dealerships.
Enrollment in PRO is free and dealers must successfully complete four online tests their first year to become certified and another two tests every year thereafter to retain their certification. Twelve webinars are offered every year via RV University along with quarterly webinars. All webinars and supporting materials are archived on www.stagparkway.com so that dealers can complete them at their own pace and convenience.
Stag-Parkway said that PRO curriculum is designed to “expand a dealership’s understanding of key areas in their business and give them practical tools to help them run successful dealerships.” Since it was introduced in 2010, PRO training has included modules on merchandising, marketing, customer experiences, social media, customer relationship management, retail technology, search engine optimization and consumer behavior.
Certified dealers receive a special PRO certificate and window decal, free RV University admission for the certified attendee valued at $149 and 10% off imprinted catalogs, flyers and the annual MagniFinder subscription.
To register for the PRO education program, contact your STAG sales consultant.
The Coast Distribution System Inc., an aftermarket suppliers of replacement parts, accessories and supplies for the recreational vehicle and outdoor recreation industries, reported a drop in earnings for its second quarter and six months ended June 30, impacted by lower margins.
Morgan Hills, Calif.-based Coast reported net income of $0.5 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the second quarter, compared to net income of $1.0 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2011. For the six months, Coast recorded a net loss of $800,000, or ($0.18) per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $59,000, or ($0.01) per diluted share, for the year prior.
The company said the decline in net income in this year’s second quarter and the increase in the net loss for the first six months were primarily attributable to declines in gross profits, which more than offset modest increases in net sales, in each of those periods.
Net sales for the second quarter increased by 2.7% to $34.1 million compared to net sales of $33.2 million in the second quarter of 2011. In the six months, net sales increased by 0.8% to $58.4 million from $57.9 million in the same six-month period of 2011.
Those increases were primarily the result of increased sales of the company’s Powerhouse generators to large retailers outside the RV and boating channels, which more than offset the effects on sales of RV and boating products of continued consumer uncertainty regarding the economic recovery.
Gross profits fell by $0.7 million to $5.6 million, resulting in a decrease in gross margin to 16.4% in the second quarter compared with 19% in the same quarter of 2011. In the six months ended, gross profits fell by $1.2 million, to $9.0 million, resulting in a decline in gross margin to 15.5% from 17.6% in the same six months of 2011.
These decreases were the result of price reductions on selected products that Coast implemented in response to aggressive price competition in the market, as well as a weakening of the Canadian dollar, as compared to the U.S. dollar, which increased costs for the company’s Canadian subsidiary of purchasing products from U.S. suppliers. Coast expects that the price increases it began implementing in July 2012 will contribute to improvement in gross margins in the second half of 2012.
“Although we posted modest top-line growth for the second quarter, ongoing consumer uncertainty about economic recovery and high unemployment continued to unfavorably affect our results,” said Coast’s CEO Jim Musbach. “Despite these challenges, we see reasons for optimism as we pursue our long-term strategic plan. We have made solid progress in 2012 in our sales of generators to large mass merchandisers, a new distribution channel for us. In addition, our sales to our traditional RV customers are slowly showing signs of recovery, which resulted in solid sales gains in July. As we enter the second half of the year, we continue to be optimistic about sales growth, given positive order momentum in our proprietary products where we plan to tap into existing distribution channels in addition to exploring new opportunities.”
To view the entire report click here.
MyRVMarket.com, the RV industry’s newest online aftermarket store, will have an entire store set-up at the Good Sam Rally in Louisville, Ky., this week with hundreds of products on display. According to a press release, the rally will run June 21-24 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).
“We will be offering free memberships in the MyRVMarket.com Traveler’s Club, which provides a 10% discount on every product we carry,” said David Kozy, vice president and director of operations for Chicago-based RV Home & Marine Solutions, which recently launched the online aftermarket store. “We will be adding additional club benefits in the coming weeks.”
While most RV aftermarket stores tend to focus on parts and accessories related to the engine and drive train components, MyRVMarket.com focuses on products that enhance the RV lifestyle.
“Our niche is providing products like awnings, refrigerators, chairs, lights and security systems that satisfy the residential needs of the RVer,” Kozy said, adding that MyRVMarket.com is also developing relationships with dealers that can handle product installation for consumers. “We’re focusing less on parts and accessories and more on lifestyle products to enhance the comfort of the RV experience.”
RV Home & Marine Solutions entered the RV aftermarket two years ago when it introduced Nature-Zyme, a full line of environmentally friendly RV holding tank and RV and marine cleaning products. More information is available at www.MyRVMarket.com.
Camping World Inc. will be opening its newest retail location in Anderson, Calif., according to a press release.
Camping World of Redding will be located at exit 670 off I-5. This new 37,776 square-foot facility will encompass both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV sales dealership in addition to an RV collision center on-site.
“Our company branching in to the Redding, Calif., market makes perfect sense,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “Redding is known for its abundance of national and state parks, lakes, rivers, and streams which makes our new location ideal to serve the needs of outdoor and camping enthusiasts.”
The tentative grand opening celebration is slated for May 2012. The company is looking to employ between 30 to 35 employees to increase their sales, service and support needs for this local dealership and accessory store. Nearby Camping World SuperCenter California locations include facilities in Vacaville and Roseville.
“We are always looking to expand our business into new areas, and we are very excited about serving the Northern California community,” said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World chairman and CEO. “Our knowledgeable and trained team looks forward to providing one stop shopping RV conveniences to the Redding area in the near future.”
NTP Canada, a division of Keystone Automotive Operations Inc., named Robert Edwards as the new sales manager focusing on the RV aftermarket for Canada.
“He brings a wealth of experience in serving the needs of RV dealers throughout Canada as well as extensive product knowledge. We’re excited to have him join our team,” said Ralph Ruzzi, vice president of sales for NTP Canada.
According to a press release, Edwards draws on over 30 years of experience in multiple segments of the industry. He started at the dealership level working the wash bay and steadily climbed the ranks as shop technician, parts manager and on to general manager.
NTP said that Edwards’ experience with the supplier manufacturer segment of the business “enabled him to apply his understanding of dealership operations to aftermarket and OEM sales.”
“That’s why I’m here,” Edwards said. “This is the most exciting opportunity I’ve seen in my career. The concepts and principles that drive Keystone Automotive and NTP are a natural fit. There’s much we can do to service the needs of RV dealers throughout Canada.”