Camping World, the nation’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, has opened its newest retail location in Cocoa, Fla. The location is officially named Camping World of Cocoa and offers a wide array of RV sales, service and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast, the Brevard Times reported.
Camping World of Cocoa is located at 4700 King Street in Cocoa, at exit 201 off I-95. This new 15,000-square-foot facility encompasses both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV Sales dealership.
“Our company branching in to the Cocoa, Fla., market makes perfect sense,” said Roger Nuttall, president of Camping World RV Sales. “It is a great place for tourists and visitors to relax and enjoy the atmosphere which makes our new location ideal to serve the needs of outdoor and camping enthusiasts.”
The grand opening will begin on July 11 with a ribbon cutting by the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce at 9 a.m.
The celebration will run from July 11-22. Free lunch will be served Fridays and Saturdays during the event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting July 13. The dealership’s operating hours will run from Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers will find deals on hundreds of new and pre-owned RVs as well as a large product offering of RV supplies and service.
The company has employed 25 employees from Brevard County area to increase the sales, service, and support needs for this local dealership and accessory store. Nearby Camping World SuperCenter locations include facilities in Winter Garden and Kissimmee.
“We are always looking to expand our business into new areas, and we are very excited about serving the Central Florida 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 Cocoa area in the near future.”
Billings. Mont.-based dealership Metra RV Center has been sold, according to a report in the Billings Gazette.
Jim and Mileen Vandeberg, who started Metra RV in 1999, wanted to retire. So, three years ago, they started trying to sell their business and property. One would-be buyer made an offer.
“They just couldn’t raise the capital,” Jim Vandeberg said.
The new owners, Doug and Debbie Becker of Laurel, Mont., paid an undisclosed price for more than 100 RVs sitting on nine acres. Before buying the Lockwood business, Debbie worked in the insurance industry and Doug worked as distribution manager for Coca-Cola in Montana and Wyoming, plus running a Laurel utility trailer business with his dad.
All Metra RV’s employees are staying and their skilled service will continue, Doug Becker said.
The Beckers appear eager to learn from the Vandebergs, but they have their own ideas for boosting Metra RV’s sales.
“We’re looking at some specialty trailers built for the oil fields, low-temperature ones,” he said. “We have one here that’s good to 50 below.”
Oil field business was just one reason the Beckers bought the business. But Vandeberg said that makes sense to him.
“I think Doug is going to do a lot of business with the oil folks in the Bakken and we hear Roundup is getting going with oil activity, too, so that’s bound to help them,” he said.
Jim Vandeberg will stay on until fall as a consultant to help the Beckers learn the business. Then the Vandebergs plan on heading south to Arizona for the winter in, what else, their RV.
The ROUTE 66 RV Network announced today (Feb. 24) the addition of three new dealerships to its nearly 140 dealership locations in 40 states.
According to a press release, the three new ROUTE 66 RV Network dealers are:
• Rex & Sons RV’s, Wilmington, N.C.
• M&M Camping Center, Trenton, Mich. (south Detroit)
• Bayou Outdoor Supercenter, Bossier City, La. (Shreveport)
“The addition of these three quality dealerships continues to strengthen the network and solidify the promise we make to every ROUTE 66 dealership customer that ‘Wherever the Road Takes You, You Can Count on Us,'” says Dave Francis, a ROUTE 66 partner. “Making and delivering on this promise is very important to our network dealers.”
Comments from the new Route 66 dealers included:
• Travis Creech, operations manager of Rex & Sons stated: “We are most excited about the opportunity we now have to promise our customers that when they visit any ROUTE 66 location nationwide they’ll be treated with the same level of service and commitment they get when visiting us.”
• Mike Ellias, owner of M&M Camping, also sees their participation in ROUTE 66 as a strong competitive advantage, noting: “We can not only give our customers a ‘safety net’ with nearly 140 locations nationwide ready and willing to serve them as they travel, but also enhance our ability to compete by taking advantage of the many exclusive programs the Network offers.”
• Bayou Outdoor’s Chad Brazzel said: “When you look at the map and see who the ROUTE 66 dealers are, it’s some of best independent dealers in America. You’re known by the company you keep, and we’re delighted to be a part of this elite dealer network.”
“With a 90-minute drive-time protected market area there are still a few areas around the country that need a ROUTE 66 dealer,” said Rob Merrill, a partner in ROUTE 66. “The major criteria when we consider a new dealer is do they have a reputation for delivering excellent customer service and are they a full-service RV dealership location.”
For more information on Route 66 contact Rob Merrill or Dave Francis at 913-317-6678.
California-based McMahon’s RV is holding a grand opening at its Mesa, Ariz., store. According to a press release, Arizona consumers are familiar with the dealership which has operated seasonal locations in Yuma, Parker and Quartzsite for a few years.
The grand opening began on Sept. 23 and will continue to the end of November. The Mesa location dealership includes a full service center and a cafeteria.
“Our country has a lot of great historical sites and now is the time when families can travel without the heavy costs of airfares and hotels,” said Brent McMahon, president of McMahon’s RV. “We established this location because RVers from all across the country enjoy visiting this beautiful area.”
McMahon’s RV is a division of MegaRV Corp. and has been serving Southern California since 2000. The company has expanded and now has seven locations, including California stores in Colton, Irvine, and Palm Desert, along with the Arizona outlets. For more information visit www.mcmahonrv.com.
California-based Sky River RV has moved its Phase 2 expansion plans for its new Dublin store ahead of schedule, according to a press release.
“Sky River RV has agreed to expand its current indoor facility by an additional 65,000 square feet.” said Rick Woodward of CRS Walnut Creek, who represents Sky River RV.
Sky River RV Dublin recently held the grand opening at its new Dublin location. “The look on the customers face told the whole story. The owners have created an interactive environment that the customers love and is a real pleasure to work in,” said David Raggette, sales manager. “The store showcases a two-plus acre indoor showroom, storage and parts department. It also has over six acres of outside display space conveniently located at the Interchange of highway 680 and 580 in the East Bay of Northern California.”
“We are very pleased with the results so far. We are in the beginning stages of a long-range business strategy in the Dublin Store,” said Scott Thorpe, managing partner. “Phase 2 should be completed by year end at which time the store will have over four acres under roof for sales, consignment, service, parts, storage and rentals. Phase 2 will also include the completion of the six-acre outside display.”
Sky River RV operates a service and parts department in Livermore in addition to its full service stores in Dublin, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach. The dealer represents the Keystone, Newmar, Skyline and Coachmen brands. They have recently added Thor Motor Coach, Extreme Warrior and Monaco R-Vision to its product lineup in the Dublin location.
A new business focusing on servicing and storing recreational vehicles is expected to materialize in Alliance, Ohio, now that city officials have given the zoning and site-plan approvals.
The All-Pro RV Service and Storage facility is planned for the 1600 block of Freshley Avenue, the Canton Repository reported.
“It will be all new construction,” said Doug Wonner, business proprietor. “Our hope and plan is to break ground in late February or early March. Our hope is to open up in early summer.”
In all, according to Wonner, the complex will have 20,480 square feet under roof. That will entail a 12,000-square-foot storage area for recreational vehicles.
Also, there will be a 7,200-square-foot service area and a 1,200-square-foot showroom. Wonner will co-own the facility with his wife, Linda Wonner.
“We will have three other employees other than ourselves,” he said. “I have been in the recreational vehicle industry for 15 years. I have worked for a dealer. I worked for another business that does storage and service for RVs. We thought there was a need in Alliance and the surrounding areas for it. There is nothing in Alliance that caters to RVs.”
The site is near the existing Commerce Park industrial park, which is in the city’s 4th Ward.
“It is a vacant piece of land,” City Councilman Lawrence Thompson, D-4, said. “It definitely is a good thing to have a new business in town.”
Prior to constructing the facility, the project will require some excavation and installation of drainage infrastructure.
However, “building a building for our specific needs was better than trying to renovate,” Doug Wonner said.
The state of North Dakota, at least some of the score of RV dealerships spread out across the state as well as its campgrounds have apparently avoided the recession.
Kurt Leier, the sales manager for Capital RV Center Inc. in Bismarck, said the dealership’s two stores in the state sold a combination of about 900 RVS in 2008, which is its second highest earning year in its 23-year history, according to KFYR-TV, Bismarck.
“We’re stable here but what we’re seeing is probably not as many people traveling from other states to here with their families and things. Probably staying closer to home and camping,” Leier said.
Meanwhile, the Minot Daily News reported that area campgrounds are packed, loaded with people attending this week’s state fair in Minot and oil field workers who have signed long-term camping leases.
Owners of motorhomes and towable RVs that had the fair as a travel destination can consider themselves fortunate if they found an opening at a neighboring campground.
Fair-week travelers have filled available camping spaces this year, forcing campground owners to turn away business.
“The weekend was very busy and we’re always full during the fair,” said Sandy Boe, owner of KOA Campground east of Minot. “The phone has been ringing constantly. A lot of people were very upset because they couldn’t find a place. There’s a lot of angry people. It’s been a 24-hour-a-day job telling them that all my sites were taken.”
Boe welcomes the business she has received, particulary since the KOA Campground was hit by flooding this past spring and didn’t open for business until June 29. The campground contains 66 sites. Among the campers staying at KOA this past week was a family from Australia that had rented a camper in Florida and was in the process of touring the United States.
The Roughrider Campground west of Minot, nestled along the Souris River, has also had to turn away business during the fair.
“We don’t generally have to turn people away. It has been hard for us,” said Danielle Ballweg, owner of Roughrider Campground after telling a caller that there was no space available for his motorhome. “We don’t like to do that, but that has been the case.”
The Roughrider Campground has more than 80 sites. At late morning Thursday, several campers were packing up to leave and several others were waiting to take their spots.
“A group checks out every day and another group checks in every afternoon,” explained Ballweg. “It’s been great – more than busy. We’re overly filled several nights, especially last weekend, which was huge for us.”
Among those lucky enough to have a camping spot during fair week are several regular participants at the fair, including William Crowder of Moundsview, Minn. Crowder is better known as the bugling private who can be found roaming the Fur Trader’s Rendezvous at the fair.
“Yup. We have the bugler,” said Ballweg with a smile. “He’s well known at the fair and he’s been fun to have out here. He entertains us in the mornings and the evenings.”
Darold Swenson, owner of Valley View RV Park and Swenson’s RV, said his park has been 100% full. However, that has been the case at Valley View for most of the year since many oil field workers have signed long-term leases at Valley View.
“We actually added about 25 spots just a couple of weeks before the fair,” said Swenson. “But, with the oil activity, we had maybe just eight or 10 available when the fair started. It’s been a busy summer and has been for quite a while.”
The Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting loan applications today (July 1) from RV dealerships for guaranteed floorplan loans under a new 15-month pilot program.
SBA officials, however, declined to predict when the money will start flowing.
”We expect there will be a ramp up period as we roll out the program,” said Eric Zarnikow, SBA associate administrator for capital access, during a telephone press conference. ”It’s difficult to know when the first loan will be made.”
SBA ”guidance” to lenders became available on Tuesday, he said, and he encouraged dealers to contact local lenders who likely already are qualified to make SBA loans and are familiar with SBA procedures.
”In recent months, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the availability of credit for financing dealership inventories,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said in a press release. ”We want to be a partner for these small businesses and help ensure they have the resources they need to help keep their businesses open, save jobs and survive these tough economic times.”
The new program allows RV, automotive and watercraft dealers to establish revolving lines of credit ranging from $500,000 to $2 million, with SBA guaranteeing 60-75% of the loan, depending on collateral. Loans are to be repaid within five years.
The floorplan loans are available under the SBA’s 7(a) program, which typically guarantees 90% of the amount. SBA decided on the lower percentage because of the newness of the program.
”Given that this is a pilot program, there is some question about how these loans will perform,” Zarnikow said. ”We concluded that a 75% guarantee would provide encouragement to lenders without taking undue risk.”
Because it is a pilot program that expires Sept. 30, 2010, there is a 4,000-loan limit this year and next “We don’t expect to see that volume, particularly in 2009,” Zarnikow said.
The SBA will decide next year whether to extend the pilot program beyond its expiration date.
About 100 people representing 36 RV dealerships are expected to attend Carriage Inc.’s dealer meeting next week (June 9-11) at the World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel and Conference Center in Boston.
Primary among new products will be a 37-foot ”motorhome-concept” Carri-Lite fifth-wheel featuring a full-wall slideout with a large bathroom and shower in the cabover in front of the bedroom.
”We won’t be offering any new brands,” said Don Emahiser, vice president of sales and marketing. ”We are trying to shore up what we have. We have some new features that we have added that we think are sensational.”
Emahiser said it is important for Carriage to hold its dealer meeting away from the company’s Millersburg, Ind., manufacturing complex. ”We know that it’s not business as usual in the RV industry, but we want the whole world to know that we are still around and kicking,” he said.
From a high mark of about 120 dealers, reports Emahiser, the economic recession has cut that number to about 90.
”We’ve weathered the attrition storm better than some of the other manufacturers,” he said.
Carriage manufacturers Royals International, Carri-Lite and Cameo fifth-wheels along with Domani fifth-wheels and travel trailers.