The potential oil boom in parts of West Texas sharing in the Cline Shale formation is creating a housing dilemma for communities that will be affected by oil and gas production.
As reported by the Abilene Reporter News, several communities are addressing the issue as best they can with new housing and apartment developments, but transitional housing in the form of recreational vehicles has become a speedy solution.
RV parks are popping up in several locations, such as the one in Snyder on a 150-acre site on Highway 208 just outside city. Developers even have complemented its stick-built units and lodge-type housing facilities at the site with an RV hookup field.
Sales of the vehicles, now being tagged as alternative housing, have seen an influx in orders and continued growth potential.
“We sold more last month than we ever have before,” said Grant Cherry, owner of Family RV Center in Sweetwater. “And it’s looking like we are going to beat that this month.”
Family’s RV sales went up 25% this year compared with the same time in 2012, he said. Buyers are picking up fifth-wheels and travel trailers within the $20,000 to $60,000 price range.
Another popular model is called the Bunk House, a two-bedroom unit with two bathrooms and all the amenities of a small apartment. Local dealers said the models are increasingly in demand for workers with visiting families.
It’s a similar story at Franklin’s Big Country RV Outlet in Abilene.
Phil Fry, the outlet’s general manager, said the dealership also draws a lot of business from the Midland-Odessa area, and have orders from Scurry and Mitchell counties.
So far, Fry said individuals are the ones buying the RVs. Some companies are looking at the units, but “they are a little harder to deal with.”
“A lot of times they (oil companies) want to buy four or five of the same kind and they want it at my cost, and I’m just not interested,” Fry said. “I’m not going to do it if I can’t make a profit.”
He described the uptick in sales as “a good shot in the arm.”
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Growth in the oil fields has spurred RV sales for Texas-based Pharr RVs, according to a report by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Over the last three years, business at the dealership has increased 10% a year, said Mike Hymer, co-owner of the business. “I would say a big part of it is attributable to the oil and natural gas industry,” Hymer said.
He said that much of the area around the oil and natural gas boom offers limited rental housing and staying in a motel can get expensive. “An RV is much more economical,” Hymer said.
Many of the workers from the oil and natural gas companies get a daily stipend for housing, Hymer explained. An RV means they save money and don’t have to make a long-term investment.
“They’re not willing to invest in real estate,” Hymer said, “because the growth might be a short-term phenomenon.
Some of the workers, Hymer added, might only be in the area for a year or two.
In addition to the growth Hymer credits to oil and natural gas, he said jobs and business have also been created in the wind energy sector.
Hymer knows a lot of people haven’t seen the inside of an RV lately, and don’t know how the vehicles have changed over the years. He added they are surprised by what they see inside newer RVs.
“The amenities have come a long way in the last five years,” Hymer said. “You see a lot of new amenities; it is making them more livable.”
Bigger floorplans and modern entertainment systems are just a couple of examples. He himself lived in an RV for three months once.
“They are more like a real home,” Hymer said.
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Motor Home Specialist is hosting The World’s RV Show, slated for March 11-16 at the dealer’s complex in Alvarado, Texas.
According to a press release, the show’s inaugural event will feature live streaming video demonstrations, RV walk-throughs, how to’s, along with question and answer sessions with industry leaders. Also on hand will be representatives from at least eight major RV manufacturers.
“Why go to an RV show only to meet a salesman trying to sell you aged or distressed merchandise,” said Donny O’Banion, Motor Home Specialist CEO. “At The World’s RV Show you can see all the latest models, newest innovations and meet actual manufacturer’s COOs, general managers, design team members, national sales managers and chassis manufacturers.’
The show will showcase over 250 new 2013 model units open, on display and ready for delivery, while expedited financing will also be available during the six-day show.
Admission, parking, dry camping, food and drinks will be free.
“We understand that sometimes it is difficult to travel to RV shows,” said O’Banion. “That is why we will be streaming the portions of the event live, including product demonstrations, on the show’s website.”
For more information visit http://www.theworldsrvshow.com.
Alvarado, Texas-based dealer Motor Home Specialist is giving back to the community with a donation of $202,000 to Cook Children’s made possible by proceeds from the 2012 year-end closeout promotion on the company’s website at http://www.mhsrv.com/.
According to a press release, the promotion ran from Oct. 16, 2012, to Dec. 28 with Motor Home Specialist pledging to donate $1,000 for every new motorhome sold.
“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to give back to such a wonderful organization,” said Donny O’Banion, Motor Home Specialist CEO. “We have a deep admiration for Cook Children’s mission of improving the health of every child that comes into their care. The facility is extraordinary. I never imagined a place so massive in size and diverse in scope could be so thoughtfully designed and constructed to make every child and parent’s life the absolute best it could be during a difficult time.
“We would also like to thank our loyal mhsrv.com customers for helping make this possible and with a lot of hard work and the good Lord’s help, we hope to be able to continue on with this tradition and make it even bigger in the years to come.”
RV businesses in West Texas are reporting record sales in the past several months, and many attribute the boost to oil companies. KTXS reported that the shale oil boom has caused hotels, homes and RV parks to fill up in parts of West Texas.
Randy Smith, president of Jerry’s Campers in Abilene, said more customers are buying earlier than ever before.
“These are people that just don’t have a place to live,” said Smith. “There’s no hotels, there’s no housing, and this is just their alternative. So yes, I’ve seen quite an increase.”
Workers are looking for used motorhomes, and he said it’s a struggle to keep up with the demand.
Hanner RV Supercenter in Baird has seen a 50% increase in sales over 2011.
“They’re out of housing so especially out west, all the hotels are all booked up – places for rent and sale are all gone so an RV is the next place to go,” said Connor Sloan, business manager.
He said he gets daily calls and visits from people in the oil industry.
“It’s either companies themselves buying up trailers or the individuals working for that company. So it’s typically men working for the oil company,” said Sloan.
He said RVs are convenient for work where being able to pick up and move quickly is part of the job description.
“A lot of the time with the oil it’s moving constantly, and with an RV it’s just easier to pack up and move on to the next spot,” said Sloan.
Hanner RV said its most popular models have been bunkhouse trailers that can fit up to a dozen people and toy haulers that can haul lots of heavy equipment.
The Texas Recreation Vehicle Association (TRVA) reported a strong turnout for its 39th Annual Convention held Aug. 10-13 at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol in the heart of downtown Austin.
Overall convention attendance was 275 from the campground, manufacturing and dealer sectors, boosted by an increase in park operators. The theme for this year’s convention was “Growing the RV Lifestyle – Together.”
“We had a great turnout, almost 60 parks attended,” said Clark McEwen, TRVA executive director. “This was the largest park participation we’ve ever had but also the largest convention we’ve ever had. It’s a sign of the times; everybody is feeling pretty good right now compared to where we were.”
Brian Schaeffer, executive director of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), provided an update on all legislation passed in recent years that is campground specific including a modification to the Theft of Service Law, enumerating campgrounds in the new Trespass Law, and modification of Property Code 94 with regard to the definition of an RV, and non taxation of RVs.
In addition, Schaeffer updated park owners on the status of the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for campgrounds, specifically on the issue of pool lifts. To fully take advantage of the new Texas laws, attendees were referred to www.tacomembers.com where there are many forms available that incorporate the new legal language. Schaeffer also reviewed a potential eviction case drawing attention from HUD, which could impact all campgrounds in Texas and across the country.
Other speakers included:
• Dr. Peter Tarlow, who spoke on safety and security issues for parks and dealerships.
• Margo Richards, travel information director with Texas Department of Transportation, who spoke on how to work with the department to get information out to Texans and visitors alike on their parks.
For the third consecutive year TRVA recognized outstanding RV parks in the Lone Star state, including:
• Small Park of the Year, Palmdale RV Resort, Harlingen, Michael and Carolyn Fuller.
• Medium Park of the Year, Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission, Guy and Juanita Carvajal.
• Large Park of the Year, Victoria Palms RV Resort, Donna, Karen Pike.
The awards are based upon many factors that demonstrate excellence in facility, customer service and overall superior park operations. Awards and recognition are open to all RV parks that are TRVA members and meet its requirements.
TRVA is now gearing up for its annual Southwest RV Supershow to be held Sept. 13-16 in the Dallas Market Hall. More than 10,000 people will attend the show, the largest in the Southwest, to see over 400 RVs from Texas’ best RV dealers in more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space.
TRVA’s 2013 convention will be held in Austin Aug. 9-12.
Clark McEwen, executive director of the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association (TRVA), the trade association for Texas RV Dealers, announced that several South Texas dealers will come together to bring an annual RV Super Show and Super Sale back to San Antonio. The show will be managed by TRVA.
According to a news release, the South Texas RV Super Sale will be held at the Joe Freeman Coliseum–Exposition Hall Jan. 5-8. Participating dealers in the event RV include Ancira RV of Boerne, Camping World of San Antonio, Crestview RV Superstore, ExploreUSA RV, San Antonio, and Ron Hoover RV from Boerne.
The release stated that the show “represents a new chapter in the South Texas RV industry as multiple local RV dealers join forces to present and promote this sale.” The last exclusive RV show held in San Antonio was in 2007.
“We are thrilled to be able to produce this show in association with the outstanding and well-established RV dealers in the San Antonio area,” said McKewen. “Our focus is totally on the family and the benefits of RVing. This will be an exceptional show for the beginner, anyone that is interested in learning more about RVing, or the experienced RVer. Special pricing, financing and insurance will all be available as well as participation from the Texas Parks and Wildlife and other industry related entities.”
There will be over 200 RV’s of all shapes and sizes – from the basic towable that can be purchased for as little as $129 per month to beautiful motorhomes that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. McKewen said the show is the only place in South Texas that consumers will be able to see dozens of manufacturers represented in one location.
“We believe that the RV industry is a bellwether for the rest of the nation’s economy and are very encouraged by the growth in our industry over the past two years,” said McKewen. “The RV business is experiencing one of its best years in 2011 as a result of increasing numbers of families and retirees are choosing Rving over traditional travel.”
The show will feature special pricing for all active duty military and RV Club members. In addition, children under the age of 15 are free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, please see http://www.SOUTHTEXASRVSUPERSALE.com or contact Wayne Walker at email@example.com. Interested vendors should contact Mary Claire Campos, Director of Special Events for the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association at 512-327-6072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.