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It seems as though more Albertans are enjoying the great outdoors in recreational vehicles. According to a report by the Global Edmonton, the province is leading the country in RV sales this summer.
Statistics from the RV Dealers Association (RVDA) of Alberta show towable sales are up significantly in Alberta this summer compared to last year.
“We’ve seen probably about an 18% to 20% increase in sales comparatively to last year,” explains Clayton Phillips, a sales manager at Woody’s RV World.
Phillips said while their average customer ranges in age from 35 to 59, he has seen an increase in the number of young people and young families buying RVs over the past few years. “You can get into a new RV in the low teens – $12,000 is where we kind of start – all the way up to $400,000 dollars, depending on what your needs or wants are,” he said.
Despite high gas prices, Phillips said an RV vacation is still anywhere between 25% to 59% less expensive than a typical vacation. Manufacturers are also making recreational vehicles lighter in weight, so they’re not as expensive to pull.
It seems as though it’s not just holiday or camping needs that are drawing Albertans to RVs.
“We’re seeing a growing trend to people that are retired that are going to full-time, live-in use of the recreational vehicle, as well as people that use them for work purposes,” Phillips said. “You know, the oil field consultant that travels around or the guy that does road construction in the summer time, that sort of thing.”
Then, there are the snowbirds who spend their summers in Canada and head south for the winter season. Plus, with features such as indoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and televisions, RVers can enjoy the outdoor life without leaving the comfort of your own home.
“Here in Alberta we work hard, we play hard. We’re outdoor enthusiasts and because of the seasonality of our business, when summer hits, people want to get outdoors,” Phillips say.
The forecast for next year doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either.
“It’s all looking positive right now,” Phillips adds.
A blaze Friday (July 13) evening at Woody’s RV World in Alberta had fire crews busy as they attacked flames on the south side of the building.
The Alberta Daily Herald reported that the fire started at approximately 6:45 p.m. from what a witness says was a garbage can that caught on fire on the outside of the building.
Dave Fjellner, sales manager for the business, says he was alerted of the fire when staff started to smell smoke.
“We were all working away then we just smelled smoke,” said Fjellner. “We were like ‘What the heck?’ and we looked outside and…it was a trash can on fire.”
Fjellner suspects the trashcan caught on fire and ignited the wood structure beneath the building.
“It went up just like a chimney and part of the pillar just collapsed,” he added. “We were throwing buckets of water on it to try and contain it.”
After noticing that the fire made its way to the roof of the building, one staff member called the fire department immediately.
Deputy fire chief Dan Verdun, who was the incident commander for the blaze, says when his crews arrived, the blaze was mostly on the inside of the building.
“When we first arrived on scene, we had heavy smoking showing from (the south) side of the structure and the fire seemed to be contained within the false parapet wall – our crews initially hit it externally and managed to get the flames extinguished,” said Verdun.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.
Canada-based dealership Woody’s RV World Ltd. announced that it is acquiring Leisureland Camper Village in World Grande Prairie, Alberta, with plans to take ownership on Feb. 1 and hold a grand opening in late March.
According to a press release, the Leisureland operation includes a 25,000-square-foot building that “offers a look and feel very consistent with the other Woody’s RV dealerships.” With the expansion into Grande Prairie, Woody’s RV World said it now has stores in all four major markets in Alberta.
Darren Paylor, president of Woody’s RV World, related that all of the existing staff at Leisureland Camping Village will be retained. “On behalf of the management team would like to thank the Leisureland staff for their hard work and promise to continue the tradition of exemplary customer service that they have demonstrated for so long,” said Paylor.
He added that “along with Woody’s RV continual growth and expansion is the creation of many exciting job opportunities for the community and also existing employees.” For employment inquiries in any of Woody’s RV World’s four Alberta-wide locations, send resumes via e-mail to email@example.com or visit www.woodysrv.com.
Woody’s RV World, a full-service dealer founded in Red Deer in 1986, has quickly grown to become a leader in the retail RV industry. Woody’s RV has been recognized numerous times as the Reader’s Choice Gold Award, Reader’s Choice Best Service and Best RV Dealer, in addition to being listed as one of the Top 50 RV Dealers in North America, as well as the Canada’s RV Dealer of the Year (2001) and Entrepreneur of the Year (1998).
In its many years in business, Woody’s RV World in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, has served a long list of satisfied customers, and received many industry awards along the way.
Woody’s was recently named one of the Top 50 RV Dealers in North America by RVBusiness magazine, and is also the Gold winner in the RV Dealer category of the 2010 Calgary Herald Readers’ Choice Awards, the Herald reported.
Darren Paylor, president of Woody’s RV World, says the company is very proud of the awards — including winning the prestigious Top 50 award for the second year in a row.
“It affirms our commitment to being a leader in innovation by providing cutting-edge products, supported by a team of professionals committed to exceed the demands and requirements of today’s RV enthusiast,” says Paylor.
Dealerships are nominated by RV manufacturers for the RVBusiness award, and the Top 50 are chosen based not on sales but on customer service and satisfaction, employee training and education, and sound planning and initiatives.
“The RV industry has a responsibility to provide the most enjoyable experience for the RVer. Being included with this group of winning companies devoted to providing a professional RV experience is a great achievement,” says Paylor.
“Woody’s RV World is not here to just sell a product, but here to provide a great recreational adventure in which lifelong memories are created. It’s this end result that we are most proud of.”
The recognition for Woody’s comes at an exciting time in the RV industry, as innovation is at an all-time high, and prices are more affordable.
“It’s a great time to buy an RV,” says Woody’s RV World general manager Don Pettit.
The RV industry has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and vehicle design includes many innovative features, Pettit says.
Additional storage is a big trend in the latest RVs, with features like under-platform storage, stowaway bins and flatscreen TVs that pivot out of sight when not being used.
There are even bunk beds hidden in the roof that lower with the push of a button.
Pettit says if houses were built as efficiently as today’s RVs, people could live quite comfortably in smaller homes.
Woody’s RV World has always been known for its wide range of products from some of the best known brands in the business, such as Winnebago, Fleetwood, Coachmen and many others.
Woody’s carries everything from trailers for beginning RVers right up to the most luxurious diesel pusher motorhomes,
The dealership also carries many of the new lighter-weight trailers designed for the smaller vehicles many people are driving today. Downsizing in the automotive industry has created more fuel-efficient vehicles, and there are travel trailers that weigh as little as 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) and are easily towed by a minivan, Pettit says.
In addition to offering more features, more efficiency, and more choices than ever, today’s RVs are also more competitively priced.
Pettit says manufacturers are providing excellent value these days, and the strong Canadian dollar is also an advantage.
So, too, is the buying power that Woody’s RV World enjoys because of its three huge Alberta dealerships.
One thing that hasn’t changed is Woody’s RV World’s famous customer service.
Pettit says the customer has always been the company’s focus, and Woody’s is now serving multiple generations of buyers.
“We’re seeing second and third generations of a family that are purchasing from us,” he says, adding many people come back again and again when they decide to upgrade to a larger or more luxurious RV.
In addition to an excellent sales experience, Woody’s has become known for its service and parts departments. Pettit says it’s a truly well-rounded dealership, with a large service facility for maintenance and repairs, as well as a reconditioning facility that brings pre-owned RVs back to top-notch shape.
The parts department has an extensive selection of all the latest in RV accessories, from high-tech items like solar panels, satellite TV systems, and even portable ice makers, to traditional items like RV mats.
Again, the buying power of Woody’s three locations means it can negotiate the best deals available from accessory manufacturers, and pass the savings along to customers — just another advantage enjoyed by Woody’s RV World customers.