March '16

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26 • RV PRO • MARCH 2016 rv-pro.com T o say the Great Recession was a game-changer for the RV industry would be an u n d e r s t a t e m e n t . On t h e dealership level, store closures nation- wide may be the first thing that comes to mind, but there's been some good news, too. In the aftermath, new opportuni- ties arose, and Airstream was among the beneficiaries. "When we came out of the recession, this (Airstream) was one of the products people wanted. It's an iconic brand and there was no place to buy them," says Ken Kaiden, general manager of two Air- stream stores: one in Los Angeles and one in Orange County, Calif. "They were all intertwined with multiple franchises of RVs, so they were just another product on the ground. Airstream, at that point, wanted to have exclusivity." Kaiden's employer, the owner of Orange Coast Infiniti and several other Southern California auto dealerships, was approached by a former auto industry con- tact who had become Airstream's regional manager about selling the Ohio manufac- turer's legendary products. "It fell into our laps," says Kaiden, who also serves as the Infiniti store's execu- tive manager. "It just came to us; it wasn't something we sought out." Fortuitous Circumstances It was indeed a fortunate turn of events: One of his company's Ford dealer- ships was sitting vacant in San Gabriel, Calif., which is considered the heart of L.A. County. The 7-acre site was perfect, California RV Dreamin' Airstream of Los Angeles and Orange County finds success in the Golden State thanks in part to its exclusive relationship with the manufacturer and its strategic locations. By Mike Harbour PHOTOS COURTESY OF AIRSTREAM OF ORANGE COUNTY

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