Longtime Floridians H.L. and Sherry Perkins moved to east Tennessee several years ago, having decided they wanted to spend at least half of each year there.
But besides relocating their residence, the couple has opened a recreational vehicle sales business, TRI-AM RV Center, in Greene County while maintaining their RV sales site in Ocala, Fla., according to The Greenville Sun.
The Florida location was opened by Russ Poehlman, Sherry’s father, in 1967.
Joining the Perkinses in the move to Tennessee have been one of their sons, Ryan, and his wife, Amy, as well as the younger couple’s two sons: Ethan, who attends East Tennessee State University, and Austin, a Greeneville High School student.
Ryan Perkins and his brother, Russ Perkins, who lives in Ocala, are co-owners of the RV businesses here and the one in Florida, which Russ now is managing. He, too, expects to relocate to Greene County.
The Perkins family anticipates RV sales to increase this year as the impact of the nation’s 2009 recession recedes, and many American families move to fulfill their pent-up desire to enjoy “the RV experience.”
TRI-AM RV Center occupies about half of a 15-acre tract the Perkinses own at 1202 Idell Road, which overlooks Interstate 81 near its Exit 23.
Construction of the 18,000-square-foot building started in July 2008.
The building not only features a showroom, sales and business offices, but eight bays where RVs are brought in for servicing.
Working with the four Perkins family members are six employees.
Besides its large building, TRI-AM RV Center has 100 to 150 RVs on its fenced lot, about two-thirds of them new and one-third of them pre-owned.
Ryan Perkins said he enjoys dealing with customers in what is a “very family-oriented” form of recreational travel.
“You find families from all walks of life” who rely on their RVs during vacations, he said, or, in many instances, who have converted their RVs into their movable year-round homes.
He said RV prices range from as low as about $1,000 for a used, light-weight camping trailer to as much as $275,000 for a luxury motorized RV with virtually all the comforts of a traditional residence.
Sherry Perkins added, “Banks are starting to loosen up in their lending” for RV purchases.
Ryan Perkins said that in some cases, after having made a down payment of perhaps 15%, the monthly payment to buy an RV may be as low as $129.
Like an auto dealership, TRI-AM RV Center offers servicing for RVs.
Newmar Corp., the Nappanee, Ind.-based manufacturer of Class A motorhomes and fifth-wheels, has added Tri Am RV Center with locations in Florida and Tennessee to its dealer network, according to a Newmar press release.
“Newmar is extremely pleased to have Tri Am RV Center become the newest dealer to take on our towable product lines,” said Newmar Director of Sales Pat Terveer. “Like Newmar, Tri Am is family-owned and operated and believes in Newmar’s company principles and vision of offering quality RVs and the best customer service the industry has to offer.”
Tri Am RV Center will sell Cypress, Torrey Pine and X-Aire fifth-wheel brands at both its Bulls Gap, Tenn., and Ocala, Fla., locations.
“Tri Am RV Center is proud to become a Newmar dealer,” said Russ Perkins, president of Tri Am RV Center. “Our company looks forward to offering our customers quality, innovative products that Newmar manufactures. Our customers are very important to us and we want to offer them the best RV products on the market.”
Tri Am, family-owned and operated in Ocala for over 41 years, is an established factory-authorized dealer offering full service support and will be representing Newmar towable products at FRVTA’s Florida RV SuperShow next week in Tampa.
“Established in 1968, Newmar is an innovator and leader in the RV manufacturing industry and recognized nationally for its excellence in quality,” the company’s release states. “Newmar is privately owned and has a dealer network that spans across the United States and Canada.