RV Business today (Aug. 31) has announced selections for the 2nd Annual RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards, which are based on the nominations of North American RV manufacturers and are to be presented on the evening of Wed., Oct. 7, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
A volunteer panel of industry veterans concluded its review of dealer applications on Aug. 21 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., keeping a keen eye on dealers’ overall focus on professionalism, association activities, civic involvement, best practices and consumer care.
Above all, RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg maintains, the mission of the Top 50 program is to continue to remind individual dealers – and the industry at large – of the intent and specific recommendations of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence and, beyond that, to give attendees at the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association’s (RVDA) Con/Expo a chance to relax and reflect on a year that was trying at best.
“We had an overwhelming response from our manufacturer nominees this year,” said Goldenberg. “The number of applicants received was about 40% more than what we had in 2008. Before judging even started, we considered this year’s program a success, and that was largely due to the many quality dealerships submitting applications. Because there were so many worthy RV dealers who applied, it was a much more difficult selection process this time around, and, unfortunately, we weren’t able to include everyone who applied.”
“The judges did take a very good look at all the application materials dealers sent in, and it was a very close race,” adds BJ Thompson, president of BJ Thompson Associates Inc., whose Mishawaka, Ind.-based agency oversees the application process for RVB. “We encourage all participating dealers, whether they were selected or not, to reapply next year.”
RVB Top 50 dealers are not ranked, although 10 Blue Ribbon retailers are singled out for special recognition. In addition, a Dave Altman Award for lifetime achievement in RV retailing and exceptional corporate citizenship will also be presented to one of the Blue Ribbon dealers at this year’s RVBT50 dinner at which Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, the former — and possibly future — Republican presidential candidate will be keynote speaker.
“Given the current national political climate and the ongoing debate between the two political parties — and the ways in which these debates directly impact the recreational vehicle industry — we consider Mr. Huckabee an excellent and thought-provoking choice for an enjoyable evening in Las Vegas,” said Goldenberg. “And that goes for industry people of all political persuasions.”
The following U.S. and Canadian retailers are the recipients of the 2009 RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards (in unranked, alphabetical order):
- Aberdeen RV Center, Aberdeen, MS
- Aloha RV, Albuquerque, NM
- Altman’s Winnebago, Carson, CA
- American RV, Grand Rapids, MI
- Apache Village RV Center, Hazelwood, MO
- ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, Edmonton, AB
- Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, MD
- Big Country RV, Bend, OR
- Bill Plemmons RV World, Rural Hall, NC
- Boat N RV Superstores, Rockwood, Tenn.
- Can-Am RV Centre, London, ON
- Carolina Coach & Camper, Claremont, NC
- Coachlight RV, Carthage, MO
- Coates Trailer Sales, Columbus, MN
- Colonial Airstream, Lakewood, NJ
- Crown RV, Conyers, GA
- Curtis Trailers, Portland, OR
- Dandy RV Superstore, Anniston, AL
- Dixie RV Superstore, Newport News, VA
- Dodd RV, Yorktown, VA
- General RV, Wixom, MI
- Giant RV, Montclair, CA
- Greeneway Campers, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
- Guaranty RV, Junction City, OR
- Hilltop Trailer Sales, Fridley, MN
- Ketelsen Campers of Colorado, Wheat Ridge, CO
- Kings Campers, Wausaw, WI
- Lazydays RV Supercenter, Seffner, FL
- Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, AZ
- Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, CA
- Modern Trailer Sales, Anderson, IN
- Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, IN
- Parkview RV, Smyrna, DE
- PleasureLand RV Centers, St. Cloud, MN
- Poulsbo RV, Kent, WA
- Quality RV, Draper, UT
- Reines RV Center, Manassas, VA
- Richardson’s RV, Sun City, CA
- Rick’s RV Center, Joliet, IL
- Roy Robinson RV, Marysville, WA
- RV America Inc., Johnstown, CO
- Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, MN
- Tennessee RV Sales & Service, Knoxville, TN
- Terrell Camping Center, Terrell, NC
- Thompson Family RV, Davenport, IA
- Tom Johnson’s Camping Center, Marion, NC
- Topper’s Camping Center, Waller, TX
- Trafford’s RV, Center Conway, NH
- Veurinks’ RV Center, Grand Rapids, MI
- Woody’s RV World, Red Deer, AB
Building on last year’s format, which appears to have worked rather well for those involved, RV Business Top 50 Dealer Award honorees will be promoted in the national press, in dealers’ hometown newspapers and in the pages and websites — of Affinity’s trade and consumer magazines: RV Business, Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.
Underwriting this year’s program are Platinum co-sponsors ADP Lightspeed, Salt Lake City, UT; Blue Ox, Pender, NE; Coach-Net, Lake Havasu, AZ; Cummins Onan, Minneapolis, MN.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Gaffney, SC, RV Trader and RVTraderOnline.com, Norfolk, VA, and Ultra-Fab Products, Elkhart, IN, while Protective Asset Protection Division, Chesterfield, MO, is a Gold sponsor.
Tickets for the $120-a-plate dinner ($99 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests) are available through RVBUSINESS.com’s registration link (http://rvbusiness.com/top-50-dealer-awards/2009-registration-form/).
“All in all, we can’t imagine that anyone attending the RVDA Con/Expo wouldn’t want to take the opportunity to mix with Mr. Huckabee and their industry peers at the cocktail party prior to our dinner and to hear Mr. Huckabee speak on the hot topics of the day at the dinner itself, regardless of their political persuasion,” said Goldenberg. “And, of course, we’ll honor our dealers, one by one, at the dinner as well, giving everyone a chance to reflect on the professionalism for which we’re trying to help raise the bar in this industry.”