KIT HomeBuilders West LLC unveiled its first park models, the new Shamrock Park Homes series, for campground operators in the western U.S. during the California Travel Park Association’s Western Conference and Trade Show, which opened Monday (Feb. 23) in Portland, Ore., according to Woodall’s Campground Management, a sister publication of RVBUSINESS.com.
The gathering concludes Wednesday (Feb. 25).
The 400-square-foot units, available in rustic cedar or with a high-end, tape-and-texture finish, are the first park models to be produced by the Caldwell, Idaho company since Art Berry and Chuck Lawrence acquired it last year from Kit Manufacturing Co., of Long Beach.
KIT Manufacturing had built both manufactured housing and towable RVs. The company sold its RV division in January 2003 to previous plant managers Don Day and Jim Homburger, who now operate it as Extreme RVs, while Berry and Lawrence bought KIT’s former manufactured housing division in summer 2003 and renamed it KIT HomeBuilders West LLC.
Though park models comprised less than 10% of KIT Manufacturing’s housing business, Berry and Lawrence plan to make park models a key focus of KIT HomeBuilders West, with campgrounds accounting for about 50% of the company’s initial projected customer base.
“We are very committed to the concept of park models because of the utilitarianism of them and the demographics of people wanting vacation and retirement lodging,” said Berry, who serves as KIT’s chairman in addition to being a principal in the Boise business brokerage and commercial real estate firm Arthur Berry & Associates. “We see (park models) as a new and innovative alternative to towables.”
Berry added that park model units, which campgrounds typically rent or sell to recreation enthusiasts, have the same amenities of any nonmovable cabin.
KIT’s Shamrock Park Homes also feature 2-by 6-inch framing specifically designed to accommodate heavier snow loads, higher insulation values, as well as full-size kitchens and bathrooms with a tub/shower combinations or optional 48-inch walk-in showers. Retail prices range from $28,000 to $45,000 and can be equipped with either thermal pane or low-E vinyl windows.
Mark Yerbic, KIT’s director of marketing, said the Shamrock Park Home Series units are being used by campgrounds that accommodate everyone from snowbirds in the desert Southwest to snowmobile enthusiasts in the Rocky Mountains.
Reflecting the sort of approach many campground operators are taking toward the latest wave of cabins throughout the U.S., Kent Wilkes plans to install three Shamrock Series units at the Bear Lake North RV Park and Campground in St. Charles, Idaho, which he purchased last year.
“Our winter is exceptionally long here,” Wilkes told Woodall’s Campground Management, sister publication of RVBUSINESS.com. “We can get snow in October and, oftentimes, we get snow in May.”
By adding KIT park models, in his view, Bear Lake North will be able to stay open next winter and capture some business from snowmobile enthusiasts, who often visit the area.
“We’ve got 38 RV sites and 18 tent sites,” Wilkes said, “and we will have three park models to start out with, but we hope to add more. We think the cabins will stay busy year round.”
KIT HomeBuilders West currently has around 50 dealers in the Western U.S., but the company hopes to eventually double its dealership base. KIT also is seeking partnerships with other companies interested in developing park model communities for seasonal use.