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The RV industry has made headlines in recent years as Americans have purchased large numbers of motorhomes and travel trailers, but there’s another wheeled vacation product that’s rapidly gaining a following: the portable log cabin.
“Demand is at an all time high,” said Tom Vesce, president and CEO of Log Cabin Homes, Ltd., which operates a 90,000-square-foot factory in Rocky Mount, N.C.
Vesce has had to quadruple his work force to 94 employees during the past six months as record numbers of consumers and campground operators have placed orders for the movable cabin units, which are classified as recreational park trailers, or park models. Vesce sells under the Bison Log Cabins brand name.
What is driving demand for them, aside from low interest rates?
“Mainly price and convenience,” Vesce explained. Although site-built log cabins typically retail for as much as $200 per square foot or more, park trailers typically cost about $90 per square foot, plus they can often be rolled into a campground or on to private property without building permits.
“Park RVs afford the campground owner or consumer a turnkey dwelling at a much more reasonable price than a site-built cabin, and you always have the ability to move the unit,” he said.
Vesce has been building site-built log cabins for over three decades, but he broadened his product line to include recreational park-trailer cabins six years ago after noticing that park-trailer manufacturers had developed a significant business base while producing vinyl-sided units.
“I thought, why not take the park trailer concept and put solid logs on it instead of vinyl siding?” Vesce recalled.
The park-trailer log cabin concept quickly caught on, Vesce said, and although he isn’t the only park-trailer manufacturer that makes cabin-style units, Log Cabin Homes remains the only firm in the nation that manufactures both site-built and park-trailer cabins.
And today, Vesce is finding strong demand for both, in the U.S. and other countries. “We just shipped a park-trailer cabin to the Bahamas, and we recently signed a contract to provide about 40 park-trailer cabins to a kids camp in Mexico,” he said.
Most of Vesce’s park-trailer business, however, comes from campground operators across the U.S., who often find they can charge more per night for log-cabin units than they can for standard rental accommodations. “People rarely brag about the night they spent in a vinyl-sided unit,” he said, “but they remember the night they spent in a log cabin. It’s part of the original American dream.”
For more information about Log Cabin Homes, contact Vesce at (252) 454-1510 or visit the company”s website at www.logcabinhomes.com.
For information about the recreational park-trailer industry, contact William Garpow at the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) at (770) 251-2672 or visit the association’s website at www.rptia.com.