Park Trailer Builders Looking Ahead to Hershey
Participating park model manufacturers had these comments in advance of America's Largest RV Show scheduled for September in Hershey, Pa.:
• Champion/Athens Park Homes sees the 2013 Hershey show as the culmination of a great year and the kickoff to the 2014 season, says Dick Grymonprez, director of park model sales for Champion Homes. “We look forward to the Pennsylvania show,” he said. The company is building park models from eight plants across the U.S. and the two units it’s showing at Hershey – one from the Rental Cottage Series and the other from the traditional Royal Series – are being built in Champion’s plant in Sangerfield, N.Y.
“That plant will service all our needs in the Northeast,” said Grymonprez, who noted that it also will build units for customers in eastern Canada.
The Hershey units showcase Champion/Athens Park Homes’ best design elements, including a front porch, tape and textured walls with wood accents, wains coating and a “hunter’s cabin feel” to the Rental Cottage unit and a rear porch, full tape and textured walls and ceilings, lots of upgrades and clear story windows with high ceilings for the Royal unit, he said.
This will be the first time to the Hershey show for Grymonprez in several years. The long haul from Texas made taking park models problematic in years past, but now with a plant within a half-day’s drive, the challenge is gone, he said.
Champion has been signing up new accounts throughout the year and adding park model production to some of its plants for the first time, he said. “We are really going after the camping business and oil boom housing business,” he said. “Any place a park model can be used, we’re going after.”
Champion’s plant in Weiser, Idaho, will build park models for western Canadian customers.
“We will have both sides of Canada covered efficiently,” added Grymonprez, who cited the increased park model demand there.
The company is building park models for customers in Japan and Finland.
Grymonprez also said the company continues to do well in Texas, Athens Park Homes; home base, where it has put units in more than 50 campgrounds since its founding in 2005.
Champion now sells park models in 37 states.
• Larry Weaver, sales manager at Dutch Park Homes, Goshen, Ind., is also excited about this year’s Hershey Show, where a new Dutch Park Homes dealer, Ken Asel RV of Gerry, N.Y., will be showing the company’s Monterey and Sterling 12-wides and 8 ½-wide Classic.
The Monterey is Dutch Park Homes’ best-selling model and is actually part 13-wide and part 12-wide. MSRP for this popular unit is in the vicinity of $59,000.
Dutch Park Homes has been coming to the Pennsylvania Show every year since 1980 and the 2012 show was one of its best, with 11 sales recorded, Weaver said.
He’s got a great location at this year’s show and looks forward to showing off all the new decors in Dutch Park Homes’ 2014 units, he said.
• Recreation by Design, a 25-year-year-old Elkhart, Ind.-based specialty vehicle manufacturer now aiming directly at RV dealers, will take two units to Hershey, a 48-foot fifth-wheel from its Baypoint Signature Series, and a 44-foot, two-bedroom Baypoint destination trailer, reports Terry Hiser, sales director for dealer development. MSRPs on the two units are $90,000 and $48,000, respectively.
Recreation By Design moved into a 70,000–square-foot, state-of-the-art former manufactured housing facility on the southwest side of Elkhart in the last year, which allows the company to expand from its historic specialty vehicle focus on the movie, agricultural and carnival industries to a broader line of products, Hiser explained.
“We now have the capability to go out and address the dealer market,” said Hiser.
The destination trailer, with four slideouts, has an appeal to the campground market, Hiser noted, as it was shown at Hershey in 2012 and did quite well.
Recreation By Design also has an expertise in building units in its Custom Series that are handicap accessible. Features include 48-inch exterior openings for power lifts, 36-inch inside doorways and roll-in shower units.
“We’ve done our homework on this over the last two years,” Hiser said. “We can accommodate just about everyone.”
• Elkhart-based Skyline Corp., which has made major market penetration in the past two years in park model production, will be showing four 12-wides at Hershey – three units from its Shore Park Homes series and one from its Stone Harbor series.
“We’re looking forward to all the shows this fall – in Hershey, the Elkhart Open House and in Louisville,” said Terry Decio, vice president of sales and marketing. “We’ve positioned our park models in a great place and we’re looking to continue to add to that.”
Skyline has leaped into the No. 2 sales position nationally behind longtime leader Breckenridge through the month of April, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
Skyline will be showing two new floorplans in its Shore Park series, featuring new island and entertainment center applications and its top-selling unit with “waterfall” end wall windows. Stone Harbor is a packaged series floorplan.
MSRPs on the Shore Park are in the mid-$50,000 range, while for Stone Harbor it’s mid-$40,000.
Skyline has been building 12-wide park models for over 25 years,” Decio noted. “The last several years Skyline has made an effort to utilize its coast to coast network of manufacturing facilities to maximize value to the consumer. It helps us to be building them in a manufactured housing plant, where we can use a lot of the same quality materials.”