April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 57 nature of the demand for aftermarket installers like McGeorge's. "We have seen changes from the truck manufacturers and from the hitch sup- pliers," says Muise. "e truck OEMs are coming out with their own pre-installed hitch equipment like fifth wheel and gooseneck, mainly. at has impacted how we install aftermarket hitch equipment." It would be logical to assume that this increased participation on the part of truck OEMs would eliminate some demand from customers. In practice, however, it merely changes it, in Muise's experience. "Our hitch business grows every year, and I don't see that stopping," he says. "Yes, the OEMs are putting a lot of the under-bed hardware on tier trucks, mainly Ford and Dodge, but we do a lot of the drop-in hitches for these OEMs. "In most instances, the customer still needs to buy the actual hitch to fit into the OEM part," Muise adds. "We do very few receiver hitches on these trucks, as most do come with a hitch, but setting up the truck to tow, beyond just the hitch, is a major part of our business." In today's market, that set-up process still requires an expert touch, he notes. ankfully, that installation process has become easier as suppliers improve their products with installers in mind. "All of our suppliers have taken huge leaps forward in making the fifth wheel installs more efficient, with no-drill custom brackets and other advancements," Muise notes, adding that Reese and Husky come to mind as examples of suppliers that are leaders in that regard. "They've done a really good job the last few years of focusing on helping us to perform quick installs," he adds. "e bracketry has improved – often the nuts are already attached, for instance – and having a no-drill install saves a great deal of time. at improves profitability for us." To improve even further on that profit- ability, McGeorge's has a few techs who serve as dedicated hitch specialists and perform the vast majority of the dealer- ship's fifth wheel installations. "And we have trained most every one of our techs on the traditional weight dis- tribution setups," he adds. A Sales-Driven Business Having a successful track record in Vir- ginia as the top seller and installer of hitch products certainly keeps McGeorge's Rolling Hills RV Supercenter top-of-mind with cus- tomers, according to Muise. However, he adds that at the end of the day, selling hitches remains a sales-driven process. "e majority of our hitch business is driven from our sales department," he notes. "And we capture that business by being priced right and offering the choice to meet all of our customers' needs. One hitch does not fit all needs." In order to find a great fit for each indi- vidual customer, McGeorge's relies heavily on his hitch suppliers for tools to help guide customers toward the right product for their individual application. e dealership makes use of manufac- turer resources for marketing, merchan- W hile McGeorge's Rolling H i l l s RV S u p e r c e n t e r prides itself on excelling in every phase of its business opera- tions, the Ashland, Va.-based dealership in recent years has established itself as the go-to source for hitches and towing products in the region, according to Parts Manager Carl Muise. e product segment has had a corre- spondingly large impact on the company's bottom line. In 2013, the dealership sold and installed just shy of 500 towing pack- ages, becoming a leading installer of Reese, Husky, Blue Ox, Progress Mfg., PullRite and B&W brands, Muise says. "We sell mainly weight distribution, fifth wheel hitches, sway control hitches, as well as some add-ons like bike racks and cargo carriers," he says. A great deal has changed in terms of hitch and towing products since McGeorge's first opened in March 1973. Among the more significant changes is the fact that most new truck manu- facturers now produce their own pre- installed hitch equipment, changing the McGeorge's Rolling Hills RV identifies itself as the second-largest single-site RV dealership in the country. The dealership is a leading retailer of RVs from Fleetwood, Keystone RV, Cruiser RV, Prime Time, Zinger, Heartland, Forest River, Grand Design, Redwood, CrossRoads and Winnebago. McGeorge's Rolling Hills RV serves customers in its hometown of Ashland, Va., and across the East Coast. In recent years the business has established itself as the go-to source in the region when it comes to hitches and towing-related products. PHoTos by LEE FRAnCEs RVPApr.indd 57 3/20/14 9:15 AM

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