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John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Charlotte, Mich.-based Spartan Motors Inc., rolled into Chicago today (May 13), completing a four-day tour designed to network with the investment community and national media.
Sztykiel’s trek, made in a 41-foot Travel Supreme motorhome, included negotiating traffic in New York City along with stops in Boston and Cleveland according to a report in the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal.
“When we stop (in a city), we have appointments,” Sztykiel said. “People jump in the coach and we do the meeting in the coach, driving around the city.”
The Travel Supreme ME sports a mid-engine chassis built by subsidiary Spartan Chassis and has a 12-foot deep built-in garage, which houses Sztykiel’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Sztykiel’s message to analysts and media centered on growth in the motorhome sector and his company’s related 66% increase in RV chassis sales during its first quarter.
“This is not common. But it’s a shrewd move … (and) an innovative marketing ploy on his part,” said Scott Schultz, who owns Schultz Investment Advisors in Williamston, Mich. “Will it come to a bottom line number that is quantifiable? Not really.”
“It’s one of those things that gets you noticed but doesn’t necessarily get you bought,” said Mitch Stapley, chief fixed-income officer with Fifth Third Asset Management in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sztykiel, who traveled with Tim Gearhart, a sales and training support specialist with Spartan Chassis, estimated they’ll meet with at least 100 people by the trip’s end.
Besides running into rush hour traffic, the pair didn’t encounter many problems, Sztykiel said. But there was one issue with the Lincoln Tunnel in New York.
“(Wednesday) we probably made seven or eight U-turns in 30 minutes to get into the Lincoln Tunnel,” Sztykiel said. “There was a funny New York policeman. … He said in that classic New York accent, ‘You want to turn in the tunnel, just turn in the tunnel and get out of here.”
“I think he was sick of seeing us,” he said. “I’m convinced we were the only motorhome in Manhattan.”