February '20

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96 • RV PRO • February 2020 rv-pro.com Breaking news exclusives from RV PRO's website In Case You Missed it RV I N S I G H T Alliance RV Previews Fifth Wheel Visit the private Facebook group for Alliance RV, and viewers will see a forum crowdsourcing ideas. When some former Heartland RV executives decided to start their own RV manufacturing company, the first instinct for building an RV that would truly resonate with customers was to begin asking those RVers what they would like to see in a product. Scroll through the Facebook group page, and it shows an evolution of input from experienced RVers tossing out many ideas that were ultimately implemented in the upcoming luxury fifth wheel from Alliance RV. "People get caught up in designing these RVs and don't really take a step back and try to consider what's most important for the retail customer ... what's most functional," said Ryan Brady, cofounder of Alliance RV. Like Coley Brady, his fellow Alliance cofounder and brother, Ryan Brady worked at Heartland RV for some time. "We're trying to hit sales goals and trying to keep costs in line and sometimes some of those key decisions don't get talked through with the people actually using the RVs," Coley Brady said. The number of people on the Alliance RV Facebook page is about 1,750. He said he expects that number to reach 3,000 soon. Each person – 75 percent of which are RVers – has a voice on the company's Facebook page. For example, Alliance suggested one idea for a slide in the kitchen. Almost immediately, the Facebook page was vocal with suggestions – one of which was making sure it's flush with the floor in order prevent stubbed toes. In another instance, RVers recommended placement of outlets, within a couple inches, for use of coffeepots. A few RVers were vocal about where the light switch should go. "We've put stuff up on polls. It's really an open forum. We would get advice and feedback unsolicited," said Coley Brady. He mentioned how one consumer might ask about doing a soft-close toilet, and then 25 to 75 current RV owners will chime in. "There's been instances where we've been really humbled because we thought our customers wanted it a certain way," added Coley Brady. "We reach out to the group for the feedback and it could be totally opposite of what we were thinking. But the key is that we're not being stubborn and just doing what we think. We're listening to them and what they think as a group." By engaging with a Facebook group, Alliance RV has stayed ahead of the curve while simultaneously building a potential brand loyalty and trust amongst veteran RVers. By incorporating those decisions, Alliance RV aims to establish a long-lasting trust with end-users and dealers. Read more: https://rv-pro.com/news/alliance-rv-readies- move-new-facility-previews-fifth-wheel Patrick Industries Acquires Topline Counters Patrick Industries has completed the acquisition of Topline Counters, a designer, engineer, manufacturer and installer of a full suite of natural stone, quartz, laminate and solid-surface kitchen and bathroom countertops. A purchase price was not disclosed. Topline is headquartered in Sumner, Wash., with two addi- tional facilities in Spokane and Vancouver, Wash. Topline's trailing 12-months revenue through November 2019 was approxi- mately $34 million. "Topline possesses an excellent reputation in the various indus- trial markets it serves and has built long-standing relationships with residential home builders, commercial building contractors, kitchen and bath dealers, and big box retail companies based on delivering superior quality products and service," said Todd Cleve- land, chairman and CEO of Patrick. "This acquisition is aligned with our strategic initiatives and capital allocation strategy and we look forward to working with the Topline team to help further drive brand value, growth and synergy realization." "Topline's brand platform provides Patrick with the opportunity to further expand our industrial geographic presence into the strong Pacific Northwest and western housing markets," said Andy Nemeth, president of Patrick. Read more: https://rv-pro.com/news/patrick-completes- topline-counters-acquisition RV manufacturer startup Alliance RV relied on extensive input from customer comments on its Facebook page to make sure its new luxury fifth wheel has the features and creature comforts customers will want.

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