March '16

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94 • RV PRO • MARCH 2016 rv-pro.com NEWS of Note Camping World Acquiring Lightning RV Supply, Expanding Distribution to Serve Independent Dealers The wholesale division of Camping World – which recently announced plans to widen its distribution business to include supplying independent dealers across the country – has agreed to a purchase of Tampa, Fla.-based Lightning RV Supply. Camping World President of Retail Operations John Sirpilla, who oversees National RV Supply, said he had negotiated the deal with Lightning RV owners Brad and Becky Green. A purchase price was not disclosed. The two companies have worked together for years and look to benefit from the deal. Camping World and National RV Supply gain the expertise, customer base and name of the Lightning brand, which should benefit from the increased capital and national breadth provided by the national dealership chain, Sirpilla said. The Greens will continue to oversee operations of the Lightning RV brand, according to Sirpilla, who said that a critical piece in the deal is to keep Lightning and its network running without interruption. "It will still remain the Lightning RV Supply brand," Sirpilla said. "They've done an incredible job building their brand in the South and have outstanding dealer relationships." The aim is to expand the Lightning RV business, leveraging National RV Supply's wholesale network and capital to mutually benefit both companies. In mid-January, Camping World first announced plans in the coming months to debut a wholesale distribution network through its National RV Supply to supply independent dealers with parts and accessories. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis said he's considered the expansion in the past, but consolidation throughout 2015 ultimately motivated him to push for a new distribution option. Camping World has indicated its distribution network will utilize conventional ship- ping channels, such as UPS and LTL and allow dealer pick-up at "eight to 10" will-call locations, in addition to delivering parts to vehicles through the company's existing freight system. Prime Time Promotes Walters to GM Ken Walters has been promoted to general manager for Prime Time Mfg. "Ken is one of the true superstars on the sales side of our industry and his outstanding dealer relationships have been a huge part of our success," said Jeff Rank, president of Prime Time Mfg. "In his expanded role, I'm extremely confi- dent that his talents, energy, and passion for success will allow our company to continue growing in the RV market." Walters has served Prime Time for three years as national sales manager. He has held previous management posi- tions at General RV and Holiday Rambler. Winnebago Promotes Decker to Product Planner Winnebago Industries has promoted Jack Decker to the position of product planner. In his new position, Decker will iden- t i f y, e v a l u a t e a n d recommend current and future product p r o g r a m s f o r t h e p r o d u c t p l a n n i n g and product develop- ment departments. He will focus on the company's Class A diesel product lineup. A 28-year veteran of the company, Decker was previously a product designer. He is a graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., with a degree in mechanical engineering. WALTERS DECKER Highland Ridge Expanding Operations in LaGrange County Highland Ridge RV is expanding its operation in LaGrange County, creating up to 65 new jobs by 2019. The company, which is a subsidiary of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco, will invest $5.68 million to construct and equip a 92,000-square- foot facility on the company's current Shipshewana campus at 3195 North State Road 5. With rising sales, the company has outgrown its 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and plans to break ground on its new operation later this spring. Construction is expected to be complete in September, allowing the company to double production of its Light and Ultra Lite trailers sold in the United States and Canada. Highland Ridge RV, which currently employs more than 330 full-time Indiana associ- ates, plans to begin hiring in August for various positions.

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