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Lucas Launches New Startup: Yellowstone RV

November 1, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Mark Lucas inside a Canyon Trail Aztec Edition

Mark Lucas inside a Canyon Trail Aztec Edition

Former CrossRoads RV President Mark Lucas is establishing a new company under the revered 62-year-old Yellowstone RV brand name to build travel trailers and fifth-wheels.

Yellowstone — a name dating back to 1948 — will unveil its first products during the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

Lucas says the company, an outgrowth of Gulf Stream Coach Inc., is a stand-alone firm with its own staff and manufacturing facilities located on Gulf Stream’s Nappanee, Ind., manufacturing campus.

”I thought this would be an opportunity to try some things and test the waters without upsetting the apple cart of a company like Gulf Stream that has such a long history,” said Lucas, who left CrossRoads in September and went to work for Gulf Stream two weeks later.

Lucas said Yellowstone will have the full backing of Gulf Stream and that he will report directly to Dan Shea, Gulf Stream’s towable president and a co-owner of the family-held business. In that sense, he says, the Yellowstone startup is not unlike the divisional approach employed in recent years by industry market share leaders Thor Industries Inc.and Forest River Inc.

”Yellowstone is a company that really has the ability to be nimble and try some things that other companies aren’t willing to try,” Lucas said. ”We have the purchasing power and the ability to floor with all the major institutions and we have a debt-free company with strong financial backing. Beyond that, we are doing things our way.”

Yellowstone, at least initially, will market the existing Canyon Trail line, which will include Canyon Trail XLT travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Canyon Trail ”Advanced Profile” fifth-wheels, Canyon Trail Aztec Edition fifth-wheels, full-profile RidgeLine fifth-wheels and a yet-to-be named smaller fifth-wheel for towing behind pickups with beds as short as 4 1/2 feet.

Mark Lucas (second from left) inspects a Canyon Trail Aztec Edition with fellow Yellowstone employees Chris Shaffer, Bill Warrick and Mark Dunithan.

Mark Lucas (second from left) inspects a Canyon Trail Aztec Edition with Chris Shaffer, Bill Warrick and Mark Dunithan.

”The plan is to take on the Canyon Trail brand from the Gulf Stream family, but everything else will be new brands,” Lucas said.

Lucas, for his part, says he sees an opening in the market for a startup like Yellowstone.

”All these big major brands are starting to look alike,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “They are being constructed the same way. They are being marketed the same way. They pretty much all have the same look and feel. My goal is to be a viable alternative to the big box stores, not being a niche player or an also-brand. We want to be something different than that.”

Yellowstone sales will be led by National Sales Manager Mike Spencer, while design and manufacturing are being led by Engineer Mark Dunithan and Plant Managers Bill Warrick and Chris Shaeffer.

”Yellowstone has all the right pieces,” Lucas said. ”It has the people in place, it has the financial backing in place and it has the purchasing power in place. It absolutely fits in what’s going on in the modern marketplace right now.”

For more information, call (800) 811-0302 or email: yellowstonervs.com.

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Unique Trailer Park for Artists Sprouts in Brooklyn

December 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

A scruffy group of Brooklyn, N.Y., artists are revving up a new kind of workspace inside a Bushwick warehouse – a trailer park.

They’ve rounded up a collection of dilapidated trailers and RVs, with names like Shasta Strato Flyte, Aristocrat and Yellowstone and plan to put them outside come spring, according to the New York Daily News.

“It doesn’t look like much now, but that kind of works to our advantage because anyone with an imagination can use their creativity to help us get it going,” said Hayden Cummings, one of the founders of the workspace project.

There are nine trailers so far, and eventually they’ll all be outfitted with electricity hookups, running water and hot plates. Artists will pay a “membership fee” that starts at $590 a month and grants each person access to a trailer for use as personal workspace.

Inside the warehouse, near the Montrose Avenue L-train stop, the artists are building community spaces – including a photography darkroom, ceramics kilns, a wood workshop, a recording studio and a kitchen.

There’s a no-smoking and no-pets policy, save Murry the dog, Buddy the cat and Ruda the hen, who moved into her own trailer Monday.

The warehouse is designated by the city for commercial-only use, so the trailers aren’t intended as living quarters.

Public records show Ethel and Louis Oberlander of Brooklyn own the lot. A man identified as the landlord who was there Tuesday declined to comment.

Cummings came up with the trailer park idea with a few friends. For the past month, they’ve been placing ads on craigslist, looking for potential trailer-mates and investors. So far, about 50 people have shown interest.

“I want it to be a community, so this is all about human interaction and finding the right people,” said another founder, Liam Grill, 32. “We’re gonna have fun, make art and live on the cheap.”

The whole thing will run on Brooklyn hipster staples, he joked: Cheese sandwiches and cheap malt liquor.

Neighbors were bemused but generally supportive of the project.

“They are doing what?” asked Judy Sarante, an office clerk at a plastic bag factory across the street. “I guess it’s OK. People want to express themselves.”

“It’s clever,” said Matt Kipp, 41, who is installing an instrument supply store annex down the block. “Maybe it will generate energy and get more people coming out here.”

“I just hope the cops don’t mess with them,” said Astrid Smith, a painter. “The days of Bohemia in this neighborhood seem to be over. Maybe they will save some of it.”

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