Shows Boost Park Model RV Production
The annual Florida RV SuperShow takes place in Tampa this week, enticing thousands of snowbirds with the latest RV products, including park model RVs, the cottage-like units that are used as winter homes in Florida and across the Sunbelt.
“It’s an important show for us,” said Mark Kelly, vice president of sales and marketing for Palm Harbor Homes’ Florida division, which is headquartered in Plant City. “The orders we generate at the Tampa show will have a direct impact on our production and employment levels for the next several months,” he said in a press release.
So will other upcoming RV and home shows, including the Ft. Myers RV Show, Jan. 23-26; the Ocala RV Show, Feb. 6-9; the Jacksonville RV Show and the West Palm Beach RV Show, both Feb. 13-16; the Germain RV Show in Estero, Feb. 14- 6; and the Central Florida RV Show in DeLand, Feb. 27-March 2.
Sales from these shows translate into jobs at Palm Harbor’s Plant City factory, which has increased its workforce by 25 percent during the past year to more than 200 employees.
“We are doing more hiring and we expect to hire more people throughout the year,” Kelly said, adding that Palm Harbor plans to expand production later this year.
In this context, the winter and spring RV and home shows in Florida and across the country can have a significant impact on Palm Harbor’s business. Palm Harbor and its parent company, Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries, attend RV and home shows in Florida and across the country.
Kelly said the improving economy is boosting demand for Palm Harbor’s park models, which are popular with snowbirds from the Northeast and Canada.
The Plant City company is also seeing rising demand from new and existing RV resorts that are wanting to complement their RV spaces by selling or renting Palm Harbor’s newest and most attractive units.
“That’s where the RV and home shows come in,” Randy Cater, district sales manager for Palm Harbor in Plant City. “These shows give us a chance to showcase our newest units so that consumers as well as RV resort operators can see what we’re capable of producing.”
Cater added that Palm Harbor’s park models fill a unique niche in the marketplace. “We cater to a discriminating kind of buyer who is not out for the bottom price, but looking for park models that are very well constructed and have a special look and feel.”
New units on display at Tampa SuperShow and other upcoming RV and home shows include Palm Harbor’s 2014 Coastal Lodge and Coastal Cottage models, whose interiors feature laminate wood flooring, smooth painted drywall, cathedral ceilings and optional clerestories. The Coastal Cottage model also has optional lofts.
“We are also introducing several new looks in 2014,” Cater said, “including transom windows, horizon windows and 10- by 12-foot ‘Lifestyle Porches’ with Savannah posts and railing, a recessed entry and exterior ceiling fan with light, a flying gable and filigree.
“Our park models also feature Durabuilt cabinets and generally include ceramic tile floors or laminate flooring in our bathrooms and kitchens instead of sheet or linoleum flooring,” Cater said.
Based in Plant City, Fla., Palm Harbor Homes is one of the nation’s leading park model homebuilders and a major supplier to the campground and RV resort industry. Palm Harbor is a subsidiary of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries. For more information, please visit their respective websites at www.palmharbor.com, www.cavco.com and www.parkmodels.com.