Tom Ramsay of Meridian RV Manufacturing Ltd. in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, was presented with the prestigious 2011 Canadian RV Dealer of the Year award this past week at the 2011 Canada Night Dinner held in Louisville, Ky.
“I am so touched to have received this award,” said Ramsay, as Norm Rosen from RV Lifestyle Magazine, presented him with the Walter Paseska Memorial Canadian RV Dealer of the Year award. “This award really belongs to my entire family who partner with me in the dealership every day. I would like to dedicate this to my parents who instilled such strong ethics in all of us and laid the foundation for where we are today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
According to a press release, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada each year, in conjunction with RV Lifestyle Magazine and Dealer News, invites nominations from across Canada for the Canadian RV Dealer of the Year Award. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late Walt Paseska, founder of Walt’s Trailer Sales in Headingley, Manitoba, in recognition of his many years of commitment and dedication to the RV industry. Since established in 1989 by Camping Canada Magazine, this award has been presented to individuals who share Paseka’s enthusiasm and commitment, in recognition of their long-term contribution to the RV lifestyle, and commitment to the community as a whole.
Ramsay, owner and general manager of Meridian RV, has come a long way with the business since 1971. Over the years, its operation has consisted of everything from manufacturing its own line of custom-made RVs, modular homes and two-story commercial accommodation units in logging and mining camps to its present-day sales of all types of towable recreational vehicles and a wide range of commercial trailers.
Meridian Mobile (the company changed its name 10 years ago) was incorporated in 1967 by Ramsay’s father, Doug, his mom, Leone, his brother and himself. Back then, everything from the building of the frame to the stitching of the upholstery was done in-house. In the 1980’s, when mortgage interest rates were in the double digits, the company diversified and shifted its manufacturing focus toward the expansion of the service center to include a 30-bay shop.
Meridian RV is a family-owned and operated business, going into the third generation. Four years ago, Ramsay and his wife Sherry opened a second location, which has full sales, parts and service departments, and is managed by his daughter, Tammy. All three of the Ramsays’ grown children continue to be involved in the business.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada is asking its members to promote the RV industry with their government representative and provided them with a “Grassroots Advocacy Kit.”
In an e-mail to its members, the Canadian trade group noted, “As the 41st Canadian Parliament heads into session, and with the recent appointment of Denis Lebel as Canada’s new minister of transport, now is the perfect opportunity to reach out to your local member of parliament (MP) to let them know that action in the RV industry is needed now.”
The kit contains an overview of three key issues affecting RVDA and the RV industry in general and explains the challenges the RV industry faces.
The kit also provides instruction for contacting their MP and a sample letter to send to their local office.
This kit also provides members the opportunity to reach out through postcards and personal letters to let their members of parliament, the minister of transport and the prime minister to know that there are serious concerns pertaining to our industry.
RVDA of Canada identified these three key issues:
There is a significant lack of consumer knowledge with regards to specific regulations when importing recreational vehicles through the registrar of imported vehicles (RIV).
In order to ensure the safe operation and use of all RVs across Canada, countrywide certification — on an equal level playing field — must be implemented for all imports for consumers, as well as retailers.
National initiative to ensure safety checks on all RVs purchased across the border
More stringent inspections are needed, through a national standard, to ensure all new and used RVs purchased across the border are in proper and secure condition for consumer and dealer use.
Through this national standard, the inspection process will be conducted through a secure and legitimate source, ensuring consumer and dealer safety across the country.
This measure would help alleviate improper safety checks conducted by non-licensed facilities, and avoid compromising the safety of Canadians.
RVing should be recognized as a prosperous tourism activity
RVing and camping are large components of tourism, both internally (Canadian) and externally (from outside Canada). There is a crucial need for this to be recognized by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) as a viable growth area for tourism in Canada.
The CTC should include particular messaging to target markets where RV rentals are being offered in Canada. Promotion should gear towards a different way and a new experience to discover Canada.
Garth Bromley of Transcona Trailer Sales in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been elected as the new chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada.
Bromley, owner of Transcona Trailer Sales, has been in the RV industry for 33 years, having started his career by joining his parents Fred and Joyce at the dealership in 1978. In 1992, Bromley and his brother Terry purchased the business from their parents and in 1995 expanded the facility to their current 40-acre location.
Bromley served on the RVDA of Manitoba board from 1996 to 1999, holding various positions before serving as president. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Manitoba representative on the RVDA of Canada board. Bromley returned to the RVDA of Canada board in 2009 in order to “step into a leadership role in the national association.”
“It is a sincere honor to have been elected as the new chairman of the RVDA of Canada,” said Bromley. “It has truly been a goal of mine to be able to represent my fellow peers at the national level and I am grateful for the trust and confidence that they have placed in me and the entire national board.”
In addition to managing both the company’s RV and marine dealerships, Bromley has also been a dedicated volunteer within both industries. He held a seat on the Mid-Canada Marine and Powersports Dealers Association board, serving as both vice president and president, and is currently the past president of that organization. He has also taken a very active role in working on trade designation for the Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment Technician and served as chair of the Provincial Advisory Council, a government appointed committee charged with the task of developing the trade regulation.
Other RVDA of Canada officers for the 2011-2012 year include: Vice Chairman Ian Moore, Big Boys Toys, Nanoose Bay, British Columbia; Treasurer Kyle Redmond, Bucars RV Centre, Balzac, Alberta; and Past Chairman Alden Kowarsky, Alco VR, Laval, Quebec.
RVDA of Canada’s current board members are: Gord Bragg, Hub City RV, Nanoose Bay, British Columbia; Darren Gelowitz, Village RV, Regina, Saskatchewan; George Goodrick, Adventure Sports Ltd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Jim Gorrie, GNR Camping World, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Jean-Francois Lussier, Horizon Lussier, Marieville, Quebec; Bruce Marsh, Cape Breton Trailer Sales, Bras d’Or, Nova Scotia; Sam Parks, Camp-Out RV Ltd., Stratford, Ontario; Marty Vellner, Vellner Leisure Products, Red Deer, Alberta.
In early November, Cole International will be providing a series of “Cross-Canada” webinars to the membership of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada. According to a press release, the webinars relate to Canadian customs processes and compliance.
“Customs 101″ is a basic webinar that will introduce the role of a customs broker, paperwork required to clear your shipments and determine how to handle those special circumstance shipments. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program will also be touched on for those that are interested. People in a purchasing, accounting or shipping/receiving role would want to attend this webinar.
The dates for the Customs 101 webinars are:
• Nov. 1: BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan/Manitoba/Yukon/NWT
• Nov. 2: Ontario/Quebec (English)/Maritimes
• Nov. 3: Quebec (French)
“Managing Customs Compliance” is a webinar that will offer more in-depth information, covering customs entry, how to identify and report errors and cover some of the more common penalties issued under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) program. It will also go through the customs audit – how to prepare for it and what to do if your company is selected for verification. The individual that is responsible for a company’s compliance will want to attend this detailed webinar.
The dates for the Compliance webinars are:
Nov. 7: BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan/Manitoba/Yukon/NWT
Nov. 8: Ontario/Quebec (English)/Maritimes
Nov. 9: Quebec (French)
All webinars will start at 8:00 AM PST. Registration information to follow shortly. For more information, Contact Anita Lien at 604.718.6306 or email@example.com.
Ally Financial recently announced its participation in the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo Oct. 3-7 as a Copper Sponsor of the annual event.
Sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the RV Learning Center, the expo will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
In addition to its financial sponsorship, Ally representatives will be on hand to discuss dealer wholesale financing, retail financing and remarketing services. The bank holding company formerly known as GMAC, Detroit, Mich.-based Ally Financial was named the largest auto finance company in the U.S. earlier this year by the Auto Finance Big Wheels annual ranking of car lenders and lessors. Ally entered the RV financing market in June 2010 and began wholesale financing for RV dealers last November.
“We are committed to supporting RV dealers in their sales efforts and look forward to building lasting business relationships,” said Mark Manzo, Ally Financial vice president of Alliance Sales. “We are putting our expertise to work nationwide for the RV industry.”
Prior to the convention, dealers interested in Ally financing and services may contact the company at (800) 814-8842.
RVDA of Canada responded to the recent victory at the Canadian polls by conservatives.
“The ballots from the 41st general election are in and Canadian voters have elected a majority Conservative Government,” RVDA of Canada stated in a news release. “It has been seven years since a party has had a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Canadians will now not have to go to the polls until October 2015, under Stephen Harper’s fixed election date law. Stephen Harper is now the third Conservative Leader since Confederation to win three consecutive terms in office.”
The Conservative Party’s being in a majority government situation will play a key role in helping to implement significant elements of the party’s policy platform and agenda.
A noteworthy element of the Conservative’s agenda related to the RV industry is as follows:
- Announce and implement a Federal Tourism Strategy, to ensure consultation and collaboration among all industry stakeholders, including small-business operators, who form the backbone of the Canadian tourism industry.
Also of interest to the RV industry, the Conservative’s agenda highlights several issues related to small- and medium-sized businesses, including:
- Provide a Hiring Credit for Small Business – a one-year EI (Employment Insurance) break for some 525,000 Canadian small businesses.
- Legislate a One-for-One Rule – Every time the government proposes a new regulation, it must eliminate an existing one; and the government will give the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism responsibility to ensure departments follow the new rule.
RVDA of Canada is well positioned to move forward to work with the Conservative Government. Over the past several years, the association has implemented a non-partisan approach in order to ensure excellent relations with a number of key MPs from all parties. The RVDA of Canada also remains committed to working with all newly elected MPs, in order to bring key RV issues to the top of their agendas.
Moving forward, the RVDA of Canada remains committed to continuing our efforts to ensure the RV industry and key issues of concern are brought to the forefront of the government’s agenda. As the new cabinet team is sworn in over the coming weeks, members will be updated on significant postings related to the industry.
Representatives from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada were in Ottawa Tuesday (April 12) to highlight the important need to recognize the RV industry as a prosperous tourism activity in Canada.
The promotion of the industry would be a valuable component of Canada’s tourism policies, highlighting new and exciting ways for Canadians to see the country at its best, RVDA of Canada stated in a news release.
“RVing and camping are large components of tourism, both within Canada and from outside Canada,” stated Alden Kowarsky, RVDA of Canada chairman of the board. “There is a crucial need for this to be recognized by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) as a viable growth area for tourism in Canada.”
The RV industry continues to be a fast growing and favorable lifestyle for Canadian families. RV ownership is on the rise in Canada, with 90% of owners saying that their number one priority is seeing the country.
Annual RV sales figures have demonstrated that RV sales are up an impressive 18.4% across the country for 2010. A record number of Canadian families are discovering the fun and flexible travel that the RV lifestyle provides, and are taking advantage of continued affordability in the marketplace.
Tourism policy changes are needed, in order to support this momentum. The RVDA of Canada is recommending that the CTC include specialized messaging to target markets where RV rentals are being offered in Canada. Promotion of the industry should have a strong focus on an alternative way and a new experience to discover Canada.
“RVing really is for everyone; people of all ages, all family types, and all budgets enjoy the benefits of traveling in a recreational vehicle,” concluded Kowarsky. “More and more Canadians are opting to vacation with an RV, and we are calling on all Party Leaders to take a more proactive role in developing policies that support all travel and tourism.”
Along with increased recognition by the Canadian Tourism Commission, other key areas of concerns for the industry include the need to ensure the safe operation and use of all RVs across Canada; and a national inspection standard, to ensure all new and used RVs purchased across the border are in proper and secure condition for consumer and dealer use.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada has published its economic review for 2010.
This review, for members only, analyzes the factors at play in Canada’s economy in 2010 as they pertain to the retail RV landscape, as well as what to expect for this year, according to an RVDA of Canada memo to members.
The annual economic review is intended to deliver a comprehensive look at the economic indicators affecting the RV industry in Canada in the past year. In addition to the annual review, we will also be releasing future quarterly economic forecasts. These reports are intended to provide you with current economic information, which can assist you in gaining insights into the changing economic dimensions of the RV industry and the economy at large.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada has issued its revised show schedule for the rest of 2011 and 2012. All shows are open to the public.
Following is the revised list:
- Kitchener RV Show, April 1-3, Kitchener Memorial Auditorium (The Aud), Kitchener, Ontario; Contact: Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rvshowkitchener.ca.
- Toronto Fall RV Show, Oct. 29-31; Toronto Congress Center, Toronto, Ontario; Contact Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; email: email@example.com; www.torontofallrvshow.ca.
- Toronto RV Show, Jan. 19-22, Toronto Congress Center, Toronto, Ontario; Contact: Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rvshowtoronto.ca.
- 43rd Annual Calgary RV Exposition & Sale, Jan. 26-29; BMO Center, Calgary, Alberta; Contact Dan Merkowsky, (888) 858-8787; email email@example.com; www.rvda-alberta.org/rvshows.asp/.
- Halifax RV Show, Jan. 26-29, Exhibition Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Contact Scott Sprague, (888) 454-7469; www.arvda.ca.
- Hamilton RV & Camping Show, Feb. 305, Careport Center, Hamilton, Ontario; Contact Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rvshowhamilton.ca.
- 32nd Annual Edmonton RV Exposition and Sale, Feb. 9-12, Edmonton Expo Center, Edmonton, Alberta; Contact: Dan Merkowsky, (888) 858-8787; email email@example.com; www.rvda-alberta.org/rvshows.asp.
- Toronto International Centre RV Show, March 1-4, Toronto International Center, Toronto, Ontario; Contact: Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.torontointernationalrvshow.ca.
- Red Deer RV Show, March 1-5, Westerner Park, Red Deer, Alberta; Contact: Marty Veller, (800) 242-2593; E-mail: email@example.com.
- Moncton RV Show, March 2-4, Moncton Coliseum Complex, Moncton, New Brunswick; Contact: Scott Sprague, (888) 454-7469; www.arvda.ca.
- Windsor RV Show, March 2-4, Windsor Expo Center, Windsor, Ontario; Contact: (888) 331-8885; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rvshowwindsor.ca.
- Central Alberta RV Show & Sale, March 8-11, Westerner Park, Red Deer, Alberta; Contact: Todd Plotnikoff (403) 356-9399; email@example.com.
- Manitoba RV Show and Sale, March 8-11, Winnipeg Convention Center, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Contact: Jim Flood, (204) 452-1227.
- Montreal RV Show, March 8-12, Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec; Contact: Serge Villemure (514) 338-1471; www.salonvr.com.
- Quebec City RV Show, March 29-April 1, Centre de foires, Quebec, Quebec; Contact: Serge Villemure (514) 338-1471; www.salonvr.com
- Kitchener RV Show, March 30 – April 1, Kitchener Memorial Auditorium (The Aud), Kitchener, Ontario; Contact: Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rvshowkitchener.ca.
- Toronto Fall RV Show, Oct. 26-28, Toronto Congress Center, Toronto, Ontario; Contact: Larry Boyd, (888) 331-8885; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.torontofallrvshow.ca.
The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada announced a new partnership with Acklands-Grainger (AGI) to provide members with a new national member benefit program.
Acklands-Grainger is Canada’s largest distributor of industrial, safety and fastener products.
With 170 branch locations and five distribution centers across Canada, customer needs can be easily met, RVDA of Canada stated in a news release. Acklands-Grainger provides a broad array of products in very competitive prices in the following maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) categories.
RVDA of Canada has negotiated on on behalf of its members two levels of pricing: customer specific pricing and catalog discount. The customer specific pricing focuses on core high volume items. Acklands-Grainger has developed this preliminary list in consultation with RVDA of Canada’s Program Development committee.
Items will continue to be added to this level of pricing as collective purchase volumes increase. Any items purchased in large volumes or frequency will also be added to benefit the overall program. The catalog discounts are items that are not captured under customer specific pricing and are eligible for a 10% discount. Inventory at each branch location is tailored specifically to the local market.
To view a complete list of products available, browse the catalog online at www.acklandsgrainger.com or visit a local branch.
Once an account is set up, items that qualify for the two discount levels mentioned above will be viewable. By setting up an account, inventory management solutions and customized billing processes can be implemented right away. Inventory management solutions include: vendor managed inventory, bar coding, on-site service and automated dispensing.
To sign up for an account and start taking advantage of the convenience of one-stop shopping and competitive pricing, complete the credit application form and forward to the completed application to Acklands-Grainger head office by fax at (905) 731-8151.
For complete details on this program, contact National Account Manager Harman Nijjar, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (604) 571-6340.