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RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg and RVB co-owner and Vice President of National Ad Sales Beverly Gardner

The RV industry honored its best and brightest retailers Wednesday (Nov. 11) night at the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards banquet during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas.

The Con/Expo, convening for the first time at Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip, attracted approximately 1,200 attendees, according to the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). The event, which runs through today, is annually sponsored by RVDA, RVDA of Canada and the Mike Molino RV Learning Center.

“We’re hoping that the return of the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards will help provide an opportunity for the industry to start refocusing on some of the fundamentals of retail commerce while showcasing an array of front-line North American dealers who have demonstrated a commitment to best practices, professionalism and good citizenship in 2014,” said RVB Publisher Sherm Goldenberg. “And we couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and general atmosphere that we all experienced at last night’s reception.”

The Top 50 Dealer Awards was sponsored by Ally Financial Inc., Blue Ox, Cummins Power Generation, Dometic Corp., Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF), Lippert Components Inc., Protective Asset Protection and Stag-Parkway Inc. Serving as the event’s emcee was BJ Thompson of Thompson Associates, which facilitated the entire Top 50 Dealer Awards project.

In addition to the Top 50 Dealer Awards, two retailers received special recognition:

“¢ Thompson Family RV, Dubuque, Iowa, received the “RVB Top 50 Spirit Award” sponsored by Ally Financial for exceptional charitable outreach to improve the living conditions of a former high school exchange student from an isolated African village.

“¢ Campers Inn, Kingston, N.H., received the “RVB Top 50 Innovation Award” underwritten by Lippert Components Inc. for outside-the-box business creativity when he opened a dealership in Florida to service the dealership’s many southern and snowbird customers. 

RVB Top 50 Awards RVB Top 50 Dealer Awards banquet was well attended

Principals from both dealerships were appreciative of the special recognition. An emotional Jeff Hirsch of Campers Inn expressed his thanks after receiving the Innovation Award, while Thompson Family RV’s Mark Thompson told RVBUSINESS.com after the ceremony that when the student, Mwalimu, first told him people in his village had to walk four miles to get their drinking water from a stagnant man-made pond, there was no way he could sit back and do nothing. 

“It’s knowing that the blessings I’ve had in this industry and the richness that I’ve had, it’s now time to give back. That’s simply how I feel and how my whole family feels. They’re all with me 100%,” said Thompson, adding that they have started another fundraising drive for Mwalimu’s village, this time for a medical center. Bill Thompson and Kevin Wrate of Ally Financial presented Thompson with a $5,000 donation.

Another special ceremony saw John Primm of Dometic donate $2,500 to Melissa Cipriano of KOA Care Camps, which endeavors to send kids with cancer to summer camps. 

Of the Top 50, five retailers were singled out as Blue Ribbon dealers for their well-documented commitment to best practices in most every professional aspect of their retail stores “” profitability, employee relations, technician training, charitable giving and especially for placing a high priority on consumer care.

The Blue Ribbon dealers (in alphabetical order) were:

“¢ ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, Edmonton, Alberta

“¢ Bill Plemmons RV World, Rural Hall, N.C.

“¢ ExploreUSA RV Supercenter, Plano, Texas

“¢ Ketelsen Campers of Colorado, Wheat Ridge, Colo.

“¢ Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

The remaining Top 50 retailers were:

“¢ Alliance Coach RV Sales & Service, Wildwood, Fla.

“¢ Alpin Haus, Amsterdam, N.Y.

“¢ American RV Sales & Service, Grand Rapids, Mich.

“¢ ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, Edmonton, Alberta

“¢ Beckley’s Camping Center, Thurmont, Md.

“¢ Bill Plemmons RV World, Rural Hall, N.C.

“¢ Bob Ledford’s RV & Marine, Greer, S.C.

“¢ Bucars RV Centre, Balzac, Alberta

“¢ Burlington RV Superstore, Sturtevant, Wis.

“¢ Campers Inn, Kingston, N.H.

“¢ Carolina Coach & Camper, Claremont, N.C.

“¢ Chemo RV Sales & Service, 150 Mile House, Alberta

“¢ Clem’s RV & Trailer Sales, Ellwood City, Pa.

“¢ Coachlight RV Sales, Carthage, Mo.

“¢ Coates RV Center, Columbus, Minn.

“¢ Colonial RV, Lakewood, N.J.

“¢ Crestview RV Center, Georgetown, Texas

“¢ Curtis Trailers, Portland, Ore.

“¢ Dandy RV Superstore, Anniston, Ala.

“¢ ExploreUSA RV Supercenter, Plano, Texas

“¢ General RV Centers, Wayland, Mich.

“¢ Guaranty RV Centers, Junction City, Ore.

“¢ Ketelsen Campers of Colorado, Wheat Ridge, Colo.

“¢ La Mesa RV Center, San Diego, Calif.

“¢ Lazydays RV, Seffner, Fla.

“¢ Lifestyle RVs, Grain Valley, Mo.

“¢ Little Dealer Little Prices, Phoenix, Ariz.

“¢ McClain’s RV Superstore, Sanger, Texas

“¢ Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

“¢ Minard’s Leisure World, Weyburn, Saskatchewan

“¢ Modern Trailer Sales, Anderson, Ind.

“¢ Mount Comfort RV, Greenfield, Ind.

“¢ Noble RV, Owatonna, Minn.

“¢ Parkview RV Center, Smyrna, Del.

“¢ PleasureLand RV Center, St. Cloud, Minn.

“¢ Poulsbo RV, Kent, Wash.

“¢ Richardson’s RV Centers, Menifee, Calif.

“¢ RV City, Morinville, Alberta

“¢ Steinbring Motorcoach, Garfield, Minn.

“¢ Tacoma RV Center, Fife, Wash.

“¢ Tennessee RV Supercenter, Knoxville, Tenn.

“¢ Thompson Family RV, Davenport, Iowa

“¢ Tom Johnson Camping Center, Marion, N.C.

“¢ Tom Stinnett Derby City RV, Clarksville, Ind.

“¢ Topper’s Camping Center, Waller, Texas

“¢ Veurinks’ RV Center, Grand Rapids, Mich.

“¢ Walnut Ridge Family RV Sales, New Castle, Ind.

“¢ Wilkins Recreational Vehicles Inc., Bath, N.Y.

“¢ Windish RV Center, Lakewood, Colo.

“¢ Woody’s RV World, Calgary, Alberta