VendorScapes – New Products for Park Sector
The new campfire ring from Pilot Rock has a Swivel Grate that meets the ADA requirements for height, one-hand operation and weight. They call it “reach and operability.” The 300-square-inch single level grate swivels 180 degrees to be over the fire or completely out of the ring. The handle is never over the fire. All campers will appreciate the easy grate. The Swivel Grate feature is available on both standard and accessible Pilot Rock campfire rings.
Pilot Rock Park Equipment is designed and manufactured in the United States by R.J. Thomas Mfg. Co. Inc., Cherokee, Iowa, since 1959. The Pilot Rock product line includes picnic tables, pedestal grills, park and street site benches, campfire rings, bike racks, trash and recycling receptacles and lids, lantern poles, custom signs and more. Shop online at www.pilotrock.com.
Speaking of campfires, the Grill Daddy family of products is quickly growing into a collection of grilling tools that prove themselves to be indispensable time and time again.
The newest addition to the Grill Daddy family is the Heat Shield Collection, a set of BBQ tools that offer a host of ingenious deluxe features that provide unmatched safety, handling and grilling comfort. Built to last, each professional-grade, stainless-steel tool is designed with ergonomic comfort-grip handles that are weighted and balanced for effortless grilling. Each is equipped with Grill Daddy’s patented rotating heat shield hand guard, which maintains continuous protection from flare-ups, searing grill heat, and burning hot food splatters.
In addition to telescoping shafts that extend an extra 5½ inches and retract for storage, each tool can be mixed and matched with a specialty attachment for all grilling tasks. The most ingenious combination allows the cook to replace one jaw of the tongs with a spatula attachment, creating unmatched control when flipping meats and burgers. The set includes three tools (multi-purpose fork, over-sized spatula, sure-grip grilling tongs) and five specialty attachments (fish flipper, slider flipper, silicone basting brush, fork and spatula).
The Heat Shield BBQ Tools Collection (MSRP $49.99) is available at many national retailers including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, True Value and Amazon or online.
Print advertising helps drive potential customers to Phelps Honey Wagon, a longtime advertiser in Woodall’s Campground Management, but word of mouth helps seal the deal, says Ron Swanson, owner.
In business since 1970, the company manufactures its mobile waste collectors at its Dillsburg, Pa., factory and ships to RV parks and campgrounds nationwide and into Canada and even Mexico.
Swanson related that a recent customer in Ohio inquired about his company’s honey wagon, which is an industry staple for many campgrounds that need to pump waste from sanitary collection points. The customer asked other campground operators about the Phelps product, got their endorsement and then placed his order. He took delivery in June.
The Phelps wagon is mostly unchanged in recent years and continues its fine record of longevity, with units typically lasting 15 to 20 years before needing to be replaced, Shannon noted.
Shannon termed the 2013 season “pretty strong” and said the entire year “looks promising.”
For more information visit www.phelpshoneywagon.com.
The New Hampshire Campground Owners Association (NeHaCa) and Red Rover Camping recently formed an alliance, reports Robert Bouse, Red Rover Camping’s top dog.
NeHaCa will encourage their 185-plus member campgrounds to affiliate with Red Rover to help them fill their empty campsites with new customers, according to a Red Rover news release. Red Rover has agreed to make available the Red Rover reservation system at no cost to NeHaCa member campgrounds that need a system.
“We continue to emphasize that Red Rover is not in the reservation system business and has no plans of being in that arena,” Bouse stated. “However there are a number of NeHaCa member campgrounds that do not currently have a system. We have spent a great deal to create a state-of-the-art system for Red Rover and the six campgrounds we own and feel that to stay competitive in today’s market every campground should have a reservation system, access to the Internet and be able to book reservations on line with real time inventory. We want owners to know that our slogan, “A Campground Owners Best Friend,” is more than just a slogan.”
Gregg Pitman, executive director of NeHaCa, stated, “Red Rover is an excellent tool for our member campgrounds to enhance the marketing they are currently doing, drive new customers to their parks and do so when they know they are going to have empty campsites without having to discount their rate to do so. There are no sign-up costs, fees or contracts. They only pay when Red Rover actually sends them a customer. The added opportunity for our members that don’t have a reservation system to have one for free is an additional benefit to be a member of NeHaCa. It’s a win/win alliance.”
Bouse is hoping that other state campground associations will join the Texas, Florida and New Hampshire Associations and find this type of alliance attractive for their members campgrounds as well. To learn more about Red Rover Camping go to www.RedRoverCamping.com or call (888) 833-8399 ext. 1246.
Keith and Neil Schroeder are two of the newest entrants into the outdoor recreation industry with their small local business, Campfire Products. The brothers, who live in Fort Wayne, Ind., have been working on their product for about two years and only first introduced it to the public last August at an RV show in northwest Indiana.
That product is the self-contained portable campfire called Campfire-2-Go, and the Schroeders hope it will ignite campgrounds, beaches and even backyards all across northern Indiana.
“What we’ve got is an outer wooden shell of repurposed construction materials. Inside is paper, recycled kindling and an extra bag of wood, complete with matches and instructions, and a handle so it’s easy to carry,” Keith said. “You pull the bundle of wood out and then you light it in the ignition area, and within three minutes you have a fire. Every time. It’ll burn for about an hour, and you can throw the extra wood bundle on it, or more logs of your own for a bigger fire, whatever you want.”
In consideration of green camping and invasive species concerns, the Schroeders worked to make Campfire-2-Go both environmentally conscious and safe to transport.
“This is all repurposed. The outer shell is repurposed lumber and the inside kindling we consider recycled, because this material would typically be ground into sawdust and hauled to a landfill,” explained Keith. “And because it’s USDA approved, you can go anywhere in the country with this product.
They believe they understand the campfire business and are striving to explore the right markets and find the right vendors for a diverse mix of retail outlets. Campfire-2-Go can currently be found at a handful of campgrounds, retailers, RV dealerships and service centers.
“There are a number of different markets for this. A camper at a campground that buys right on the spot is really what we see as one of our major markets, but also I’m told there are thousands of fire pits that are sold across the country for the backyarder,” Keith stated. “Go down suburbia, and you’ll find fire pit after fire pit in people’s backyards.”
Other places in which the Schroeders envision their products are as customer gifts from RV dealers or manufacturers – Campfire-2-Go, they say, is far less costly than standard gifts such as logo camp chairs – and in high-end resorts as VIP guest perks.
“If you run a resort and you want to offer a guest a fire that’s already partly set-up, there’s nothing easier than to send an employee out to the site and put this in place and know that it’s ready to go for that special guest that’s arriving,” said Neil, vice president of sales. “I think there will be hospitality leaders that want to make that guest feel spoiled and say ‘The fire is all ready for you.’”
To satisfy anticipated varied applications for their product, the Schroeders created it in three sizes between about 10 pounds and 22 pounds and are flexible on the costs, “depending on the operator and what kind of margin they want to put on it, and also how many they buy from us,” said Keith. “Where they’re located is going to dictate some of the wholesale cost because of the shipping issue.”
For more information, visit www.campfire2go.weebly.com, call (219) 252-1088 or e-mail Campfire2go@gmail.com.