BJ Thompson Associates has received a groundswell of interest in the 2018 RVBusiness Top 50 RV Dealer Awards from a wide array of U.S. and Canadian retailers vying for binational recognition as part of a competitive Top 50 program that culminates again this year on stage at a reception scheduled for the evening of Wed., Nov. 7, at Paris Las Vegas during the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association International Convention/Expo co-hosted Nov. 5-9 by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and RVDA of Canada.
“It’s going extremely well,” reports Barb Riley, dealer coordinator for the 10-year-old Top 50 program which is based on manufacturers’ nominations and was first launched by California-based Affinity Group Inc. and is currently facilitated by Elkhart, Ind., trade publisher G&G Media Group LLC. “We’ve had a deluge of applications, and what I particularly like about it is that we have so many new names and fresh faces this year — not just in applicants but in the nominations themselves.
“So, the manufacturers are also nominating dealers we haven’t worked with before and I think that’s great — that we have that many more dealers to choose from and to ultimately shine a spotlight on. It’s going to be a very interesting year when we get to the judging,” added Riley, whose firm has helped organize the Top 50 program since 2008 as a professional benchmarking tool for dealers from coast to coast.
This year’s selection process, to be conducted by an expanded, 11-member panel of experts, is set to take place right after Labor Day in early September. The two-day, closed-door session will be held once again this year at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in RV-centric Elkhart, Ind., as part of the program sponsored by Airxcel, Brown and Brown Insurance, Cummins Power Generation, Dometic Corp., Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Lippert Components Inc., Northpoint Commercial Finance, NTP-STAG, Protective Asset Protection and Wells Fargo CDF.
Notifications will go out later in September so that named Top 50 dealers have time to plan trips to Las Vegas for the RVDA Con/Expo, if they so choose.
“We have added several new judges, people with quite a bit of experience with customer service operations at dealerships across North America, both U.S. and Canada,” added Top 50 Administrator BJ Thompson. “So, we’re pretty pleased with the increased quality of the applications along with the refined credentials of the judging panel as part of an awards program that continues to mature and benefit manufacturers, suppliers and certainly dealers as well as the customer base.”
Along with the Top 50 dealers themselves, the panel in September will single out five Blue Ribbon honorees for exemplary performances. Two other Top 50 dealers will also receive special recognition: The Arthur J. Decio Humanitarian Award sponsored by Wells Fargo CDF for charitable endeavors and the Gaylord Maxwell Innovation Award sponsored by Lippert Components Inc. for innovative business practices.