A standing room only crowd approaching 600 people gathered Wednesday night (Nov. 8) to honor 50 of the industry’s best and brightest dealerships as part of the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards gala reception, held in conjunction with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (RVDA) International Convention/Expo at Bally’s in Las Vegas. (To view a slideshow scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page. Photos by Shawn Spence).
The program is designed to honor the top 50 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada. Manufacturers submitted nominees and those dealers were invited to complete a comprehensive application. The applications were compiled and then reviewed by a panel of independent judges, whose identities are not released, to determine the best of the best.
During a brief presentation to kick off the reception, Gregg Fore, the retiring president of Airxcel Inc.’s Dicor Corp., said that the industry’s current success adds “pressure and responsibility” to continue to work hard to meet demand while also maintaining a focus on quality in all aspects to ensure customers are “happy with their choice of placing their hard-earned money in our hands.”
“That’s a tremendous responsibility,” Fore said. “And there’s no question that many of the dealers here tonight are at the forefront of working to find new, creative ways to work in unity to enhance the overall RV experience. We thank you and applaud you for those efforts. So we recognize those of you who are raising the bar of customer care excellence in your operations in your communities all over the country and in Canada.”
Singled out among the 50 for their exemplary performances were five “Blue Ribbon” honorees, including: Colerain Family RV in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; Hartville RV Center in Hartville, Ohio; Veurinks’ RV Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Voyager RV Centre in Winfield, British Columbia; and Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales in New Castle, Ind.
In addition, two dealerships – Lazydays RV and Manteca Trailer & Motorhome – earned special recognition during the gala reception and awards presentations emceed by B.J. Thompson of Elkhart, Ind.-based B.J. Thompson Associates.
With locations in Tampa, Fla., Tucson, Ariz., and Denver, Loveland and Longmont, Colo., Lazydays RV was the recipient of the Arthur J. Decio Humanitarian Award sponsored by Ally Financial, which honors a dealer excelling in charitable endeavors.
Since 2005, the Lazydays Employee Foundation, which is funded by payroll contributions from Lazydays employees, has donated more than $1.7 million to help needy and at-risk children across Tampa Bay, Tucson and central Colorado. The foundation’s projects include establishing the Lazydays House at A Kid’s Place emergency foster-care shelter, creating the Tampa Homeless Youth Outreach program and co-founding The Ybor Youth Clinic, which provides medical care to homeless children and teens. Lazydays RV also assists local nonprofits through corporate sponsorships, such as its support of The Joshua House foster home in Tampa and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
In accepting the award, along with a $5,000 grant from Ally Financial, Lazydays General Counsel Harold Oehler announced the foundation was supporting yet another endeavor targeting at-risk youth.
“In addition to the programs you just heard about, I’m excited to announce for the first time tonight that next week we will present a $350,000 gift to start Bridging Freedom, Tampa Bay area’s first long-term treatment facility to care for young girls who are rescued from human trafficking,” Oehler said.
“When we started out, we were helping foster kids. And then we said, ‘Okay, who is more in need?’ So we started helping homeless kids, and then we said, ‘Who is more in need than a homeless child?’ And the answer is kids who don’t even have their freedom.”
Manteca Trailer & Motorhome in Manteca, Calif., was recognized for its creative business strategies with the “Gaylord Maxwell Innovation Award” sponsored by Lippert Components Inc.
At Manteca, customers can browse the lots to select a unit and use a tablet to set up financing on the spot. Payment can even be made via PayPal. They aim to create an Amazon store type of experience that’s familiar and comfortable to users. Customer testimonials often are turned into online ads by the company’s full-time graphic artist to generate a greater affinity for outdoor recreation.
David Tenney, CEO of Manteca Trailer, said the dealership’s “culture is to every day walk in and say, ‘Okay. What didn’t work and what can we do to change that?’”
Picking up on that same note, Tenney challenged the industry to come together and seek an industry solution to the divide that often exists between dealerships and manufacturers when it comes to service repairs. “In this industry we’ve spent a lot of years with manufacturers and dealers pointing fingers at each other. If we could find a way to actually be 100% transparent on both ends of the job, so that we could be done with pointing fingers and just deal with the real reality that we need to deal with it,” Tenney said.
The awards program was sponsored by Ally Financial Inc., Cummins Power Generation, Airxcel’s Dicor Corp., Dometic Corp., Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Lippert Components Inc., NTP-STAG, Protective Asset Protection, Truma and Wells Fargo CDF.
In alphabetical order, the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer award winners were:
- Affinity RV Service, Sales & Rentals – Prescott, Ariz.
- Alliance Coach – Wildwood, Fla.
- Alpin Haus – Amsterdam, N.Y.
- ArrKann Trailer & RV – Edmonton, Alberta (CAN)
- Big Country RV – Bend, Ore.
- Bill Plemmons RV World – Rural Hall, N.C.
- Bish’s RV – Idaho Falls, Idaho
- Bowling RVs – Ottumwa, Iowa
- Broadmoor RV SuperStore – Pasco, Wash.
- Bucars RV Centre – Balzac, Alberta (CAN)
- Bullyan RV – Duluth, Minn.
- Burlington RV Superstore – Sturtevant, Wis.
- Byerly RV – St. Louis, Mo.
- Campers Inn RV – Kingston, N.H.
- Coachlight RV Sales – Carthage, Mo.
- Colerain Family RV – Cincinnati, Ohio
- Colonial Airstream & RV – Lakewood, N.J.
- Crestview RV Center – Buda, Texas
- Curtis Trailers – Portland, Ore.
- Dixie RV SuperStores – Hammond, La.
- ExploreUSA RV Supercenter – Plano, Texas
- Fraserway RV – Abbotsford, British Columbia (CAN)
- General RV Center – Wixom, Mich.
- Giant Recreation World – Winter Garden, Fla.
- Gib’s RV Superstore – Coos Bay, Ore.
- Greeneway RV Sales & Service – Wisconsin Falls, Wis.
- Guaranty RV Super Centers – Junction City, Ore.
- Hartville RV Center – Hartville, Ohio
- Hemlock Hill RV – Southington, Conn.
- Hilltop Camper & RV – Fridley, Minn.
- Lardners Trailer Sales – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (CAN)
- Lazydays RV – Seffner, Fla.
- Manteca Trailer & Motorhome – Manteca, Calif.
- Modern Trailer Sales – Anderson, Ind.
- Moix RV Supercenter – Conway, Ark.
- Mount Comfort RV – Greenfield, Ind.
- Noble RV – Owatonna, Minn.
- Pan Pacific RV Centers – French Camp, Calif.
- PleasureLand RV Center – St. Cloud, Minn.
- Princess Craft – Round Rock, Texas
- Rich & Sons RV Headquarters – Grand Island, Neb.
- Richardson’s RV Centers – Menifee, Calif.
- Steinbring Motorcoach – Garfield, Minn.
- Tennessee RV Supercenter – Knox, Tenn.
- United RV Center – Ft. Worth, Texas
- Veurinks’ RV Center – Grand Rapids, Mich.
- Vogt RV Centers – Ft. Worth, Texas
- Voyager RV Centre – Winfield, British Columbia (CAN)
- Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales – New Castle, Ind.
- Wilkins RV – Bath, N.Y.