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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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.
RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore and the Pastore family pledged $5,000 to the RV Learning Center during its 2013 annual campaign.
According to a press release, the fundraiser is aimed at securing the “resources needed to keep pace with training and education needs for RV dealers and staff in a challenging but growing economy.”
The new pledge by Pastore, owner of Hartville RV Center in Ohio, raises the dealership’s lifetime pledge to $15,500.
“As chairman of the RV Learning Center board, Jeff Pastore has shown his dedication to continuing education many times over just in the time and energy he devotes to its success,” said Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association President Phil Ingrassi. “The Pastore family’s pledge increase is an extension of Jeff’s already overwhelming commitment to the RV Learning Center and all the good it does to improve our industry work force.”
The fundraising drive for 2013 kicked off at the RVDA Convention/Expo in October and continues through the end of June.
RVDA said that donating is easier this year with the addition of a web page for online donations and the convenience of a printable form that allows a variety of pledging options and customized payment plans to meet donor needs. All donors receive a lapel pin and active donors of $100 or more will be recognized in a listing appearing monthly in RV Executive Today and on the RVDA website.
For more information, go to www.rvda.org.
John McKibbin has been named the new location manager for Indiana-based Campers Inn Elkhart. According to a press release, McKibbin is an RV industry veteran, having served for the past six years as GSM for Camping World of Las Vegas, formerly Wheelers RV.
“I’m truly excited about joining the Campers Inn team,” McKibbin said. “Working with a company and people with positive outlooks and attitudes is an opportunity that holds great value to me.”
Scott Hayden, director of operations, added, “John is a strong leader and decisions maker who strives to improve productivity and efficiency of team members. I am happy to have him become part of the Campers Inn family”.
For more information regarding John McKibbin or Campers Inn Elkhart call (336) 753-0014 or e-mail email@example.com
Rod Ruppel of Webster City RV in Webster City, Iowa, pledged $5,000 to the RV Learning Center, according to a press release.
His donation fuels this year’s fundraising drive, Annual Campaign 2013, which commenced during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas. The campaign runs through the end of the Learning Center’s fiscal year in June of 2013 and is aimed at continuing to fund innovative and cost-effective training, education and learning resources for dealership personnel.
The $5,000 pledge puts Webster City RV into the Champion level of donors to the RV Learning Center. That category, second only to Major Gifts, is designated for donors making gifts or cumulative pledges between $2,500 and $24,999.
“This generous pledge from Rod Ruppel is just more evidence of why Rod is such a valued member of our dealer body,” said RV Learning Center Chairman Jeff Pastore of Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio. “As an at-large member of the RVDA Board of Delegates, Rod is a leader in our organization, but he is also one of those far-sighted dealers who truly leads the way in our industry as well.”
“I strongly encourage other dealers to follow Rod’s lead,” said Pastore. “Make a donation. Pledge to give over time. When you do that, you are funding critical programs we rely on like the convention/expo, webinars on timely topics, publications that educate and inform our employees, and cost-effective training for everyone on a dealer’s staff. You are showing you believe in education and that’s a powerful example for your staff and for other dealers.”
For more information on the Foundation’s RV Learning Center, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152.