RV PRO

May '20

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rv-pro.com May 2020 • RV PRO • 15 we treat them properly the first time, how many more sales can we get? The long-term future of the RV business is outstanding because of the influx of those first-time buyers. "In the 1990s, the industry was living off second-generation RVers who camped when they were children and sought to share the experience with their kids. Now we're selling to people who, two years ago, didn't know how to spell 'RV' – it's exciting." Eckstein warns, however, that the industry must avoid building sub-par products with inadequate warranties. "The new generation could have a bad experience and move on to something else, such as boating, a timeshare, or any number of other recreational money-spend. We just have to treat them right." In the past 14 months, Mount Comfort RV has noted that many first-time buyers are trading in models for other RVs in short periods of time, often more than once. One could say it follows the "Goldilocks principle." "They get into the market and see that RVing is fun, but dis- cover it's not the particular RV they're actually seeking, so they come back and trade, and trade, and trade." The dealership offers a wide selection of RVs in various makes and models, including everything from entry-level pop-up campers to luxury diesel pushers. "We never set out to be a 'candy store,' and had no intention of being everything for everybody," Eckstein says, "but when we A parts representative assists customers in the dealership's new 5,000-square-foot parts store, which is nearly double the size of the dealership's previous parts department. hung our shingle up, we felt we owed the consumers what they wanted." While fold-down campers are an increas- ingly diminishing segment of the market, he points out that there's still a demographic of buyers who explicitly seek them. "It's what they need and what they want," he says. At the time of the Great Recession, Mount Comfort carried about 15 to 25 motorhomes, in contrast to larger competitors, which inventoried up to 100 each. "They shrunk back to 15 to 25 motorhomes, while we main- tained our numbers," Eckstein says. "All of a sudden, we were playing with the big boys. And when business rebounded, we grew our inventory of diesel pushers to 150 and we grew along with the competition. We take what the market gives us – whether it's a fold-down, motorhome, or something in between." Mount Comfort RV offers models from Aliner, Coachmen, Forest River, Heartland, Newmar, Palomino, Riverside, Tiffin, InTech, and Stealth. "Product popularity is one of the first considerations, because people will drive and travel to purchase certain RVs, whether it's real value or perceived value," Eckstein says. "But in my world, I don't want headaches. I want product that: one, will hold up well, and, two: a manufacturer that's going to easily service it with warranty and parts without any runaround." When it comes to satisfying customers' needs and concerns regarding service, Eckstein says the dealership always tries to do what's right, which sometimes can be a balance between consumers' interests and those of the business. "If a manufacturer builds a perfect RV and a dealership has a perfect service department, then everything becomes easy. But it's

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