July '19

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50 • RV PRO • July 2019 RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY JULY SPECIAL SECTION "I turned 70 this year," says Harry Allen, founder and co-owner of Harry Allen & Asso- ciates, a manufacturer's repre- sentative firm. "And I'm having more fun than I ever have before. It's great to be involved with my son in the industry I have been in for 47 years. I'm never going to retire; I'll just become a consul- tant to our company someday." Backing up to 1978, the t h re e A l l e n b ro t h e r s f ro m Brooklyn headed to California to make their way in the world. S o m e h o w, t h e y e n d e d u p making doors for RVs. Harry went on to create Harry Allen & Associates, where he rep- resented several suppliers before taking a full-time job with one. He then went out on his own again, only to be made another offer he couldn't refuse. Last Feb- ruary, he opened Harry Allen & Associates for the third time. In December, he asked his son Jared, aged 23 and disen- chanted with the solar industry he'd been working in since he was 18, to come to the Keller Marine & RV show in Pennsyl- vania. Jared, who says he's "been hearing about the RV industry and the people in it my whole life," figured he had nothing to lose. "Before the show, I asked my dad, 'If I like it, how's it going to work?' He said, 'We'll be partners.' Within 10 minutes of arriving, I was calling my old company and telling them where to send my final check. Something just clicked," Jared recalls. "It was great," adds Harry. "People welcomed Jared like he was family." For Jared, it has been a thrill to get to "meet and know all the people I have heard about since I was just a kid. Everyone has been so welcoming and I sincerely appreciate the support everyone has given my dad over the years and continues to give as we grow our agency." The father-and-son duo did six shows in their first six weeks. "Traveling together has really been tremendously rewarding and it's given me a new perspective and respect for what my dad has done over the course of his career," Jared says. "It's not HARRY ALLEN & ASSOCIATES HARRY & JARED ALLEN like I used to think – just a trip somewhere and lots of fun. It is fun, but it's also lots of work. And sometimes you get snowed in at the airport." Jared says doing all those shows so fast allowed him to "really get seasoned in all aspects of the job." One can still hear the Brooklyn accent in Harry's voice as he kvells (Yiddish for bragging with pride) about the nachas (Yiddish for pride and joy) he gets from working with his son. And he credits the RV industry itself for part of that. "It's very family-oriented," he says. "And I have had people tell me such nice things about my son. That's really the best part; spending time together, seeing who he really is." "Lots of people have said, 'Oh, you're in now; you'll never get out!'" Jared says. "But I'm glad to be here. It's more responsibility than what I was doing before, but I love it."

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