The multitude of laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on gender identity or expression is rapidly changing and expanding and employers need help to stay on top of these trends and developments. On March 21, the RV Learning Center will present a webinar on the topic at noon (Eastern), offered through a strategic partnership with KPA. Register here.
According to a press release, at least 15 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 140 local governments have laws expressly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. However, the legal landscape is changing quickly as courts and the EEOC are extending protections already in place for sex and gender to include transgender individuals. These developments signal a sea change that will likely impact employment law in areas such as hiring, discipline, and firing decisions, personnel policies, facility access and accommodation, training, and benefits.
The webinar will be led by Aisha Sanchez, an attorney specializing in cases of alleged employment discrimination. Sanchez, a frequent lecturer on the topic of workplace discrimination, will focus on the legal and practical impact that these recent developments have had on employers and offer best practices to consider when confronting such issues within one’s organization.
If you cannot attend during the scheduled time, register anyway and the materials will be emailed to you for later use. Past webinars are available online through the RV Learning Center on the following recent topics:
• Hearing protection for employees.
• Employment eligibility verification.
• Personal protective equipment.
• Accident mitigation.
• Forklift training requirements.
• California commission pay rules.
• Complying with the new health care law.
Dealers can learn the requirements for hearing protection and keeping employees safe by participating in a free dealer webinar on March 14 at noon (Eastern) presented by the RV Learning Center. According to a press release, the webinar is offered through a strategic partnership with KPA. Register here.
Environment and Safety Engineer Amanda Rawls of KPA will lead participants through an in-depth look at the many important aspects of evaluating, mitigating and protecting against excessive noise. This webinar will cover OSHA regulations pertaining to hearing protection, common sources of dealership noise and prevention of hearing injuries.
If you cannot attend during the scheduled time, click to register and the materials will be emailed for later use. Past webinars are also available online through the RV Learning Center on the following recent topics:
• Employment eligibility verification.
• Personal protective equipment.
• Accident mitigation.
• Forklift training requirements.
• California commission pay rules.
• Complying with the new health care law.
Go RVing has launched the industry’s national advertising and promotion campaign in magazines, search engines, websites and on TV. According to a press release, dealer subscribers to the Go RVing Leads-Plus program will be “reaping the benefits” as the media campaign reaches consumers.
Go RVing Dealer Leads-Plus accounts for subscribers are now active, allowing dealers to receive weekly notifications of leads availability by e-mail. Dealers just log in to retrieve leads while also having the ability to adjust the lead notification timing.
In addition, all Leads-Plus subscribers will be receiving five free reusable window clings to promote the campaign in the dealership and on units. New for 2013, the 18.75-inch by 7-inch clings feature the Go RVing logo in green and are ideal for placement on units’ windows and windshields, or on windows inside or outside the dealership. They adhere with a little water and can be peeled off and used over and over. The window clings will be arriving in dealerships this month.
An extensive study of past leads helped Go RVing identify the primary factors that distinguish information seekers from RV buyers – average retail spending, income-producing assets, net worth and type of RV being considered. The Leads-Plus system is based on consumers’ answers to demographic and lifestyle questions asked by Go RVing at the time they become a lead, plus additional data confidentially collected from Epsilon Data Management (formerly Equifax). Using these findings, Go RVing created a mathematical prioritization model to process all leads generated by the national advertising campaign.
A computer program examines the profiling factors for each individual who contacts Go RVing and places the resulting lead into one of four categories: Highly likely to purchase; likely to purchase; moderately likely; interested in purchasing.
The Leads Database is just one of the marketing tools available to dealers in the industry-only section of GoRVing.com. There, participating dealers can also access photos and logos to use in marketing materials; the latest Go RVing media plan; and research reports detailing consumer attitudes toward travel and perceptions of RVs and RVing.
A free webinar from the RV Learning Center will help dealers stay on top of changing requirements for DHS’s Employment Eligibility Verification forms and online reporting. According to a press release, the free webinar will be presented through a strategic partnership with KPA on March 7 at noon EST. To register, click here.
DHS has updated reporting and document retention requirements for employers, and this webinar will take dealers step-by-step through properly completing the forms and storing the records. Michael Pollard, a management and program analyst for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will lead the webinar, discussing the importance of compliance and putting dealers at ease about how to work with the forms.
If you are unable to participate, go ahead and register to receive a link to a recording of the webinar along with the presentation slides. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Becky Ross at email@example.com (866) 356-1735 or Karin Van Duyse at the RV Learning Center at firstname.lastname@example.org(703) 591-7130.
Dealers looking to get their staff ramped up for the busy season will find the resources they need online in the RV Learning Center’s 2013 catalog, according to a press release.
The catalog, new for 2013, is a complete compendium of all RV Learning Center resources. Dealers will find the full color, user-friendly flip-book is easy to page through online and includes a complete table of contents that covers much more than just books and publications. Access to the catalog is provided on the RV Learning Center’s home page at rvlearningcenter.com.
At 33 pages, the catalog features all the offerings of the RV Learning Center, from Distance Learning Network programs, to certification for key dealership staff and technicians. Details about the RV Learning Center’s scholarship program are included, along with information about convention workshops and audio recordings, and the RV Training Calendar.
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training and certification programs for RV dealership personnel.
For more information on the Foundation’s RV Learning Center, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152. The RVDA Education Foundation is a tax exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations. Click Here to download a contribution form.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) is inviting young dealership executives to participate in an online survey to determine their preferences for training, communications and networking, according to a press release. To access the online survey click here.
At the invitation of RVDA Chairman Jeff Hirsch, a group of young RV executives began working with staff earlier this month to identify new and effective ways to engage younger members in RVDA activities, leadership and governance. The initiative is modeled after similar groups being formed in the marine and automotive industry for the same purposes.
“I am very excited at the prospect of tapping into the potential of our up-and-coming leaders,” said Hirsch. The group held its first conference call Feb. 14 to identify the first steps toward opening channels of communications, assessing education and training needs and preferences and discussing ideas to implement at the Convention/Expo in the fall.
In charging the newly formed advisory group, Hirsch said, “The RVDA leadership believes the only way the initiative can succeed and attract younger members is if it has strong ownership from within that same group.”
RVDA President Phil Ingrassia added, “Our main objective is to allow this initiative to be shaped by the younger members themselves so it meets their needs.”
Participants in the initial planning include: Ryan Horsey, Parkview RV; Jared Jensen, Sierra RV; Sara Miller, Fogdall RV; Jay Moran, Arlington RV Supercenter, Inc.; Chad Neff, American RV; Tyler Nelson, Nelsons RV; Mike Rone, Sonny’s RV; Adam Ruppel, Webster City RV; and Larry Troutt, Topper’s Camping Center.
To get things started, a survey of younger members is in the works to assess their preferences for a targeted education event during the Convention/Expo in the fall. The group is also exploring options for a social event during the convention and discussing ways to open informal channels of communications throughout the year.
To participate in the survey or for more information, contact Julianne Ryder by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are now available for the RV Learning Center’s scholarship program. According to a press release, deserving college undergraduates majoring in business, finance, economics, accounting or other RV industry-related subjects are eligible to apply for the $2,500 award.
A factor for awarding the scholarship may be an applicant’s background of RV industry employment or a desire to work in the RV business after completing post-secondary education.
Dealers are able to offer this opportunity to their team specifically through their employment in the RV industry. Posters publicizing the scholarship are available through the RV Learning Center so dealers can display them in the workplace to alert employees to the opportunity. Dealer principals, their family and dependents are not eligible.
· Have a 2.8 or better cumulative grade point average, and a 1050 minimum SAT score (1575 minimum on the 2400 point scale). A minimum ACT composite score of 22 is also acceptable.
· Be a rising sophomore, junior or senior college undergraduate student.
· Complete a 500 word essay on their goals and objectives for attending college.
· Submit a copy of their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form which is available from guidance counselors or for download at no charge from the U.S. Department of Education at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
· Demonstrate the ability and willingness to fund a portion of their educational expenses on their own.
· Attend an accredited four-year college or university as a condition of receiving the scholarship.
The deadline for application is June 3. To obtain an application, poster, or more information, click here.
The scholarship program is possible through the generosity of the Newt and Joanne Kindlund family. The Kindlunds are the founders of Holiday RV Superstores — the first publicly-traded RV dealership. The Kindlunds sold the company in 1999. Newt Kindlund remains an active participant in RV industry affairs and currently serves on The RV Learning Center board. The Kindlund family has fully funded the $270,000 Foundation scholarship endowment.
For more information on the RV Learning Center, go to www.rvlearningcenter.com , send an e-mail to email@example.com, or fax to (703) 359-0152. The RV Learning Center is a tax-exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.
Campers Inn announced the opening of its eighth location in Kings Mountain, N.C. According to a press release, the property is currently being transformed from a Chevrolet dealership into a full-service RV dealership complete with RV parts, service and sales.
Campers Inn Kings Mountain features a five-acre paved sales lot, 10 service bays and a 17,880-square-foot facility. The dealership had a soft opening on Jan. 21 and plans to have a grand opening once renovations are complete.
The outlet will be managed by Jim Fisher who began his RV career in 1989 as F&I manager at his family owned dealership in Washington State. Fisher was also the general manager for Suncoast RV in Tampa, Fla., and national sales manager for the RV manufacturer Trail Manor.
“We want to provide expert service and repairs for all customers and brands,” said Fisher. “I am committed to growing our dealerships stature, and helping our customers make memories that will last a lifetime”.
The service department of Campers Inn Kings Mountain will be managed by Lee Kearney. He received his bchelor’s in industrial engineering from State University of New York at Oswego.
Kearney has been a service manager, parts manager and director of fixed operations for the past 30 years on cars, trucks and RV’s.
“We want to give customers the best possible experience in service after the sale, and to have a long-lasting relationship with the people of Kings Mountain that keeps them coming back,” Kearney said.
For more information regarding Campers Inn call (336) 753-0014 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camping World Inc. announced that it has secured a new substantial increase of its multi-year floorplan credit facility.
According to a press release, Bank of America, N.A., which serves as the administrative agent, led the transaction. JP Morgan, which has partnered with the company since 2003, acted as co-agent.
The facility also includes seven of the nation’s premier lenders: US Bank, SunTrust, Key Bank, M & T Bank, Bank of the West, Ally Bank and Flagstar.
Marcus A. Lemonis, chairman and CEO, stated, “Our company’s explosive same store sales plus additional acquisitions and openings, coupled with another year of an unprecedented level of profitability has earned us a multi-year facility. Our top line outlook for 2013 remains positive and our tight inventory controls and right sized SGA has us well positioned for another solid financial performance.”
Floorplan financing is a line of credit that allows dealers to borrow against their inventory, and then repay that debt as they sell their inventory or borrow against the line of credit again to add new inventory.
Designed to create a more personalized online environment for its dealer body, Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC has rolled out the first phase of its “My Heartland” log-in portal on the company’s website, www.heartlandrvs.com.
The customizable format provides access to a host of professional marketing resources that will help spur sales for Heartland’s products. While initially targeting dealer partners along with media and agency representatives, the long-term goal is to fashion an integrated “online community,” according to Steve Lidy, marketing director for the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder.
“This first module will make it easier for our dealers to do business with Heartland by making marketing support material available online and giving our dealers 24/7 access to the tools they need to best represent Heartland products on their lots, at shows and in the showroom,” said Lidy in a press release. “Long term, however, we are developing new ways to share content and tools. We want ‘My Heartland’ to bridge the gap between a traditional product information website and an interactive social media platform.”
Currently, “My Heartland” serves as a resource finder, offering point-and-click accessibility to the company’s portfolio of creative and informational materials. Registration is quick and straightforward, and can be accessed through the “My Heartland” button at the bottom of each website page.
“Dealers, and others, can now easily gain access to high-res product images along with downloadable files for product literature and point-of-purchase materials – banners, posters, and more,” Lidy said. “This will save in-house designers and agencies hours compared with the old process. We’re adding information daily, and in the months ahead will be providing dealers with several more utilities to help them effectively promote and sell Heartland products.”
He added, “We have already seen strong dealer response to ‘My Heartland’ and are urging our dealers to alert their marketing departments about this new service. ‘My Heartland’ represents just one more way Heartland is taking the extra step to build long-standing relationships with our dealers.”
Heartland RV has enjoyed innovative industry-leading success for many years, and offers a variety of towable RVs, including travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth-wheels and destination trailers. For more information, visit www.heartlandrvs.com.
Economic Development Director Chris Aiston unveiled to the St. Charles, Ill., City Council Planning and Development Committee a proposed $250,000 incentives package to lure an Iowa-based RV dealer from nearby Joliet, generating $45 million in sales over the first five years.
Patch.com reported that during that same period, US Adventure RV expects to create 21 jobs with an estimated payroll of $3.5 million. Aiston said the new business also is projected to create eight more indirect or induced jobs with a payroll of $900,000, generating more revenue for city coffers in the process.
The dealer is looking at sharing a building with the Fox River Harley-Davidson, which has about 8,000 square feet of underused space available.
US Adventure RV President John Dresselhaus told aldermen that his company, headquartered in Davenport, Iowa, has a satellite facility in Joliet, which operates primarily as a service center to the company’s clients, who come from all over the United States. While US Adventure RVs sells and rents all manner of RVs, from pop-up trailers to motorhomes, its specialty is Airstreams, considered by many to be the Cadillac of the RV world. If it moves its Joliet service center to St. Charles, it would open it as a dealership point, an option it does not on the site it leases in Joliet, which is considerably smaller than the St. Charles site.
The company not only is looking for larger quarters, it’s looking for an area that is better-suited for selling high-end RVs and campers, Aiston told the aldermen, and Dresselhaus said the more affluent western and northwest suburbs likely would be the better location.
But a move is costly — Dresselhaus has told the city he expects his relocation costs to amount to $590,000, and has asked the city for a break on the 1% municipal sales tax — not the city’s home rule sales tax — to help him recoup a portion of the cost.
Under the proposed incentive package — aldermen voted 6-0 to direct the city staff to draw up a formal agreement — the city would reimburse US Adventure RV a portion of the sales tax it collects for up to six years until the $250,000 is reached.
To view the entire article click here.
The Go RVing Leads-Plus program is back for 2013, but with a twist, according to a press release.
This year, participating dealers will be notified via email as soon as new leads enter the system. Once notified, dealers can log into GoRVing.com and retrieve their leads. The notification system will begin in late February as the 2013 media plans kicks off.
“Go RVing is excited about its promotional campaign for 2013, and one key area that will see improvement is the Go RVing Leads-Plus Program,” said RVDA President Phil Ingrassia. “Starting with the roll-out of our campaign in February, the improved Leads-Plus program will proactively notify dealers when new leads are available for download. The changes will enhance timeliness and the speed at which dealership employees and program participants can access new leads, while affording them the choice of maintaining the default settings, or adjusting the timing of lead notifications to suit their business needs.”
In February, the Go RVing Coalition will launch major lead-gathering buys in magazines, search engines, websites, direct-response cable TV programming and through innovative media partnerships.
The Leads-Plus system identifies consumers most likely to make a purchase by using a unique combination of data compiled from a variety of sources, including consumer responses to lifestyle and demographic questions. Using the information gathered, Go RVing creates a mathematical prioritization model to process all leads generated by the national advertising campaign.
The Go RVing Leads-Plus program is just one of many marketing tools available to dealers in the industry-only section of GoRVing.com. There, participating dealers can also access photos and logos to use in marketing materials, the latest Go RVing media plan, and research reports detailing consumer attitudes toward travel and perceptions of RVs and RVing.
To sign up for the 2013 program, dealers can visit www.rvda.org, call RVDA at (703) 591-7130, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
An Iowa-based RV dealer is asking for a tax break should it relocate to St. Charles, Ill.
According to a report by the Kane County Chronicle, Economic Development Director Chris Aiston on Monday (Jan. 14) told the Planning and Development Committee it would be great to have a business such as US Adventure RV in the city. In addition to generating business and bolstering existing businesses, he said, the RV company would make use of an underused building.
“This is our shot at it now,” Aiston said.
US Adventure RV, currently based in Davenport, Iowa, is considering leasing about 8,000 square feet of the Fox River Harley-Davidson building in St. Charles. It operates a satellite location in Joliet, and moving to St. Charles would bring the company closer to its customers in the northwest suburbs, company President John Dresselhaus said.
Moving costs are estimated at $590,000. US Adventure RV has asked St. Charles to reimburse a portion of anticipated sales tax revenues not to exceed $250,000 or for a period of six years, whichever happens first.
To read the entire article click here.
Editor’s Note: The investment firm of Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client advisory following its fourth quarter survey of 106 RV dealers across the nation. Excerpts from the newsletter follow.
Fundamentals look solid, but OK to harvest gains. In partnership with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), we contacted 106 RV dealers to assess recent trends. It’s the off-season, but trends were generally favorable. Fundamentally, consumer demand is improving as negative RV equity evaporates, stimulating trade-in activity. Meanwhile, after an extended destocking period, inventory is lean-to-balanced and dealer confidence is building – supporting strong orders. We remain bullish on fundamentals, but would trim into strength on valuation.
Retail continues to improve. Dealers reported growth in motorhomes (+2-4%) and towables (+12-14%) during the seasonally less-important December quarter. We believe better consumer confidence and improving used RV values are supporting stronger demand. Retail data from Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) indicate motorhome demand improved 3% in October, while towable demand increased 8%.
Sentiment soaring. Dealer sentiment remains quite strong. Dealers that survived the recession by slashing inventory and running a lean cost structure see potential for better days as retail recovers. Improved sentiment is driving incremental wholesale demand, fueling the early stages a re-stocking effect in which wholesale shipments exceed retail sales. The trend could persist for a while, in our view.
Inventory appears lean to balanced. Dealers report 125 days of towable inventory (up from 121 days last year) and 88 days of motorhome inventory (down from 118). As dealer sentiment rises, dealers have become more confident stocking in anticipation of better demand. Still, it’s the offseason for many dealers – the percentage of dealers expressing concern about the level of inventory increased.
Outlook. We are bullish on RV fundamentals as demand improves. We believe improving values in big-ticket items may reinflate a wealth effect for more consumers. Meanwhile, dealer inventory appears lean to balanced, supporting a modest re-stocking effect before a bubble builds.
The Recreational Dealer Cooperative Association (REDEX), rebranded as the Priority RV Network, announced today (Jan. 7) that it had partnered with Canada-based RV Care Network Ltd. to form “the largest RV dealer system in North America.”
According to a press release, the arrangement allows customers buying vehicles from RV Care or Priority RV Network to receive emergency service for major breakdowns at any member dealership in the U.S. or Canada.
“This alliance will enhance the traveling experience for all RV Care and Priority RV customers,” said Earl Manning, managing vice president of RV Care.
Corey Ruzicka, executive director of Priority RV Network, added, “More than 154 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada will offer a major selling advantage for the buying customer. No dealer or dealer group in either country can offer this to the RV consumer except RV Care in Canada and Priority RV Network here in America. We feel this alliance will increase sales for the dealers in both groups.”
Both RV Care and Priority RV Network will continue to operate as separate entities. RV Care currently consists of 60 full-service RV dealerships in the 10 provinces across Canada while Priority RV Network has 94 dealerships in 41 states.
“A lot of Americans visit Canada in their RVs,” said said Bill Redmond, president of RV Care Network and Bucars RV Centre in Balzac, Alberta. “And a lot of Canadians travel to the U.S. on RV vacations and as snowbirds during the winter. Now, our customers will have peace of mind for service and parts when they travel on both sides of the border.”
Both groups offer a variety of additional benefits for their dealers. This alliance may also open the door for exciting new opportunities with industry suppliers.
“They have dealers from ocean to ocean, as we do,” said Michael Peay, president of the Priority RV Network and Holiday World of Houston. “Why would a consumer buy anywhere else? Our customers who vacation in Canada will be excited about this alliance.”
The RV Care Network is the largest network of independent RV dealers in Canada with 60 locations from coast to coast who are all committed to helping the traveling customers of the other RV Care dealers, and now the dealers of the Priority RV Network. RV Care also works with a selection of industry partners to provide products and services to the RV Care dealers which help them provide top quality service and value to their customers. For more information, visit www.rvcare.ca.
The Priority RV Network provides innovative, convenient, value driven programs to an exclusive nationwide dealer network creating a competitive advantage for its members while providing value to their customers. Priority is run by a seven-member dealer board of directors. It also boasts of its strong, independent dealership service network referred to as the Priority RV Network. For more information, visit www.priorityrvnetwork.com.