Terry Cagle knows what it’s like to be on top of his game, having built his former company into the largest RV dealership in Texas from 1976 to 1982.
“I retired at 46 and absolutely hated it,” Cagle said.
So the former RV dealer went back to work and eventually discovered another wheeled vacation product that is quickly finding favor among consumers and campground owners alike – the portable cabin.
“We’re selling them as fast as we can build them,” said Cagle, whose company, Grandview, Texas-based Park Manor Inc., occupies a 250,000-square-foot facility. “Consumers use them as turnkey vacation homes, while campground owners use them as rental units for people who don’t own RVs.”
Technically classified as recreational park trailers, each wheeled cabin is about 400 square feet and often can be rolled into a campground or on to private property without building permits.
“You just hook them up to utility connections and you’re ready to go,” he said.
And because each of the cabins is delivered as a turnkey unit, it saves the consumer and campground owner the time and hassle involved in building their own cabins.
Cagle himself knows how long it can take to build a cabin from the ground up. Several years ago, he bought the Little Creel Resort, a campground in Chama, N.M., at 8,000 feet, with plans of improving the park with camping cabins.
“I hired a couple of local people to build two, 300-squarefoot cabins,” Cagle recalled. “They started on March 15 and were supposed to finish in 60 days so I could rent them out for the summer. They didn’t finish until November 15th.”
Cagle found a ready made solution to the problem in Indiana, which is home to several companies that manufacture cabin-style recreational park trailers that can simply be wheeled on to a campsite.
But instead of merely buying another company’s cabin units, Cagle met with a number of campground owners and manufacturers and discovered that there was enough demand for portable cabins in Texas and surrounding states that he could build his own cabin company and help expand the recreational park-trailer industry in Texas.
He formed Park Manor in 1999, joined the board of the directors of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), and is now marketing his portable cabin units to consumers and campground operators across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. “There’s a growing market for these units,” he said, adding that he secured more than 80 orders for cabins during a recent trade show sponsored by the TACO.
Campground operators, for their part, believe Cagle is on the right path and that there is considerable demand for park-trailer cabins from campgrounds and RV parks in Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states that want to accommodate travelers who don’t have RVs.
“The cabins help us expand our customer base,” said Kevin Brown, project manager for Braunig Lake RV Resort near San Antonio, which recently purchased three cabins from Park Manor. “We’re going to start with three cabins, but I know we’ll expand that pretty quickly,” he said.
“We see the park-trailer concept having great potential,” said Mike Fawcett, owner of Red Bud Resort and Marina in Claremore, Okla. “We recently bought two cabins from Park Manor and we’re fixing to expand to 10 more. People like the cabins and we like the way Cagle’s are built.”
For more information about Park Manor, contact Terry Cagle at (817) 866-2910. For information about the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), please contact Bill Garpow at (770) 251-2672 or visit the association’s website, www.rptia.com.