The new location of Wilkins RV Inc. in Bath, N.Y.,  which opened its doors in January a mile from the intersection of I-86 and I-390 in western New York State, has given owner Brian Wilkins exactly what he wanted: exposure.
“We’re more than doubling our traffic by getting near the corridor where 86 and 390 combine,” said Wilkins, who posted about $25 million in 2005 sales. “It’s a great location.”
Wilkins’ new store covers 51,000 square feet and includes a 20-bay service department and a 14,000-square-foot climate-controlled showroom, a first for the business that was founded in 1936 by his grandfather as a used-car dealership.
The new facility also features a 3,000-square-foot parts and accessories department housing a $300,000 parts inventory, which, according to Wilkins, makes it one of the state’s largest.
Plans call for the addition by 2007 of eight full hookup sites to accommodate customers who need service work or who are buying a unit and wish to have a dry run on the premises.
A REDEX member, Wilkins considers Newmar motorized his “bread and butter” brand, although he also carries Georgie Boy, Damon and Gulf Stream motorized and Keystone, Heartland, R-Vision and Newmar towable, as well as 8-foot wide Bayridge park models.
Wilkins RV, the official RV dealer/sponsor at nearby Watkins Glen, offers on-site RV service at Nextel Cup and IRL races, which this year will be the weekends of Aug. 11-13 and June 2-4.
Wilkins, who defines his major market as a 60- to 80-mile radius of Bath, is encouraged by current sales amid a rather unpredictable business climate. Through the end of February, towable unit sales were double those of a year ago, while fifth-wheel sales were up 30%.
Still, he views the motorized market as uncertain. “So far this year we are slightly behind our budget, but we lost the first two weeks of the year in our move,” said Wilkins, who gets 50% of his trade from repeat customers and 10% off the Internet.