Chicago area dealership Crystal Valley RV, which recently moved to a new location, reported record sales in February and strong sales thus far in March.
The dealership moved in late January from Crystal Lake, Ill., its home for more than 30 years, to Island Lake, Ill, a distance of about 10 miles east.
“I had $2.8 million in sales in February, which is a record for that month, and March looks like it’s going to be pretty solid,” said Randy Thompson, Crystal Valley RV’s president. “I attribute that to the move.”
Crystal Valley RV and its 55 employees marked the move into new $6 million facilities with a grand opening March 12 that was attended by about 100 industry and local government officials. among them were Mike Molino, Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) president and John Draheim, vice president of sales for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside, Calif.
A reception for Crystal Valley RV Owners Club members that drew 250 people two days later was followed by a weeklong grand-opening sale.
“We moved because we needed bigger facilities, particularly on the service side,” Thompson said. “I’m trying to go into more engine and chassis work, and we just didn’t have the space before. We had to expand if we were going to grow our business, and we think service is the cornerstone of that.”
The new 48,000-square-foot store sits on 18 acres and features a 9,000-square-foot showroom in addition to 18,000 square feet of protected exterior display space under a hard-roof canopy attached to the showroom.
Twenty-two 50-foot service bays also are part of the new Crystal Valley RV facility.
“We can get 13 units plugged in under the canopy with easy access,” Thompson said. “If we sell something from there, we can move it out easily and put something else in without disrupting the showroom.
“And we easily tripled the size of our service space and quadrupled the size of our parts department,” Thompson added.
Crystal Valley RV, located northwest of Chicago, had $24 million in sales in 2002. Although it did not move a great distance, it now is east of the Fox River, which provides easier access for most Chicago area residents, Thompson said.
The dealership, whose employees own 35% of the company, attempts to serve both the Chicago and Milwaukee markets, Thompson said.
Crystal Valley RV stocks Fleetwood motorhomes exclusively, plus travel-trailer and fifth-wheels brands manufactured by Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio, the Trail-Lite Division of R-Vision Inc., Warsaw, Ind., and Forest River Inc., Goshen, Ind.
The larger sales space will allow Crystal Valley RV to expand its offerings of fifth-wheels, Thompson said.
“Our inventory level has swollen across the board in anticipation of a good selling season,” Thompson said. “We are OK so far. Monitoring our inventory was a concern when we moved and it’s still a concern. But we sold 30 vehicles over the weekend, so that was encouraging.”