Cavco Helps Solve KOA Dilemma
Financial problems apparently left Cairo, Ga.-based Park Models Manufacturing Inc. unable to complete 20 park models ordered by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) corporate- and franchise-owned parks, even though substantial deposits had already been made for the units, according to Mike Gast, KOA’s vice president of communications.
But when Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries Inc. heard that three KOA franchisee parks were not going to get their park models as a result of the Georgia company’s financial problems, Cavco stepped in to help.
In an extraordinary move, Gast said, Cavco told KOA it would complete six pending park model orders for three KOA franchises in exchange for only the remaining amounts previously due to Park Models Manufacturing. That way, the KOA park owners wouldn’t lose any money on their park model orders. Park Models Manufacturing was to have built the remaining 14 park models for KOA corporate owned parks.
Officials with Park Models Manufacturing could not be reached for comment. Gast said six of the outstanding park model orders were for KOA franchises in Gettysburg, Pa.; Ruffs Dale, Pa., near Pittsburgh; and Gretna, Neb., near Omaha.
“We wanted to be a part of this and help out,” said Tim Gage, vice president of Cavco’s Specialty Division, adding that the company was working overtime in June in an effort to deliver the units by early July so that the three KOA franchise campgrounds could capture as much summer business as possible.
Cavco’s generosity was a lifesaver for Eric Murray, owner of KOA Omaha West in Gretna, who had two park models on order from Park Model Manufacturing and had already booked 55 nights’ worth of reservations for the new units. Once Murray receives the two units from Cavco, he will have a total of five park models at his campground.
“Everything is booked this summer,” Murray said of his park model, adding that the 400-square-foot units are very popular as rental accommodations.
At the corporate level, KOA remains upbeat on the idea of using park models as rental units, even though the Billings, Mont.-based company has had problems with two park model manufacturers that have recently gone out of business, leaving campground owners on the lurch. The other company was Thomasville, Ga.-based Stewart Lodges, which exited the park model business a few years ago.
“We’re sold on the park model concept,” said Mike Atkinson, KOA’s facilities development manager. “Cavco has been the steady rock the whole time. They’ve always been there and have always been a stable, reliable company for us.” Atkinson added, “In my book, loyalty is rewarded with loyalty.”