February '20

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82 • RV PRO • February 2020 rv-pro.com Trade shows also are important for the company, with rep- resentatives attending or exhibiting at around 10 each year. Naturally, the hometown Elkhart Open House Week event for dealers is at the top of the list. LaVanture goes all out for that September event, scheduling an annual taco lunch, which has become popular. "One of the fun things during Open House is we have a taco truck come in to feed people on a particular day," Rhinesmith says. "Hundreds of customers come and we get to mingle and mix with them and have some one-on-one time with them, just for total customer appreciation. This year (2019) was the biggest one yet. We started doing that five years ago at our facility with a couple hundred tacos and now we are doing about 3,000. It pays off with the people we have built rela- tionships with because they want to come spend time with us, and not just on a business level." Other Keys to Success While having the right mix of products is obviously vital to LaVanture Products success, Rhinesmith says it is just part of the company's overall strategy to meet its customers needs. The dis- tributor also touts its on-time delivery, competitive pricing, quick and personal response, and courteous service. Additionally, the company maintains an employee-friendly culture in the workplace, which can be seen in a number of dif- ferent ways. For example, visitors to LaVanture Products on any given day are liable to run into such interesting characters as Zelda, Cosmo, Chico, Noah or Dallas. No, these four-legged individuals aren't employees – they are the dogs of employees making scheduled visits as part of regular "bring your pet to work" days. The pet-friendly policy, a prized perk, is a prime example of the parts distributor's culture of creating an enticing workplace. Rhinesmith describes the LaVanture Products culture as being out of the ordinary. "This is a high-stress industry and we want people to know they are valued," she says. "We want to know what our employees think about our products. They are the eyes and ears, and the ones who hear what our customers are saying. I want to know that. If they can't be empowered, then the customer doesn't need them." The Road Ahead for LaVanture Rhinesmith says she is optimistic about 2020 for LaVanture Products. She views the company's biggest challenge as con- tinuing to find good, quality products without raising prices, as she acknowledges that tariffs have impacted suppliers including LaVanture. Through it all, she says Lavanture Products keeps its customers in mind. "Our customers deserve to have a company they can count on," Rhinesmith says. "We want them to come to us for quality products. We want to know their thoughts. We can't be better at Victor Martinez operates the forklift while Brandon Bloomer prepares packages for shipment.

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