RV PRO

May '17

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64 • RV PRO • May 2017 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S with puppies. … I'm super happy to be in our new digs." Wagon Trail is just one of several deal- erships to open new locations or to plan new stores. Case in point: Lakewood, Colo.- based Windish RV is set to open a new location in Fountain, just south of Col- orado Springs, in mid-May. The new location, on an 11-acre site, will retail Airstream and Keystone RV towables. Given that Windish already was selling a good number of units to people in the Colorado Springs area from its Den- ver-area store, a third location seemed completely justifiable. "What's great about that area there is there are growth opportunities and we have the land to expand in the future," Windish GM Jim Humble told RV PRO in an exclusive interview. "It's a great market to be in and we're excited about being down there." Continuing eastward, several more dealerships have pockmarked the U.S., embracing the growing public demand for the outdoors. Tulsa RV in Oklahoma opened its second full-service consign- ment dealership in March, RCD RV Supercenter opened its third dealership in Ohio at the end of April and a new dealership, YellowHammer RV, opened in late March in Clanton, Ala. Given the current upward arc of the RV industry, don't be surprised if several more new store openings are announced in the coming weeks and months. Sheep's Wool: RV Insulation of the Future? When Kirkland, Wash.-based teardrop trailer manufacturer Homegrown Trailers wanted to boost the sustainability of its building materials, the RV maker did something innovative – it used sheep's wool from supplier Havelock Wool to insulate the walls of its trailers. Previously, Homegrown Trailers was taking a more traditional approach to insulating its trailers. "We were using rigid-foam insula- tion," said Corey Weathers, co-founder and CEO of Homegrown Trailers. It wasn't necessarily bad, he said, but the way the insulation was produced didn't meet Homegrown's sustainability philos- ophy. Foam insulation, while it does have anti-moisture and anti-microbial prop- erties, can't be recycled. It can only be thrown away. "After building two trailers in the prototype phase, I said that I bet we could use wool for the entire trailer." And, no, this isn't a deathtrap for those allergic to lanolin. The wool is safely isolated behind wood panels (just don't punch a hole through the wall). Since launching in 2016, Homegrown produces about three to six trailers a month. That number is expected to grow as the RV maker moves into a larger facility near a Google campus in Kirkland, where 100 percent of the build- ing's energy will be renewable. Paired with this new approach to insulation and other materials, it could be something the RV industry begins to adapt. "I think the RV industry is really intrigued with where we're going – the products we're using," Weathers told RV PRO in a March eNewsletter exclu- sive. "We kind of built the case that not everything has to be fiberglass- and plas- tic-based materials." He added that it's not something other manufacturers should feel threat- ened by. "It's not like we're the new guy on the block that they have to outdo," he said. "We offer a unique product and to a dif- ferent type of customer. Overall, people are very supportive." Batt form and loose-fill wool insulation carries unique properties that surpass the quality of run-of-the-mill insulation, some research finds. It can even manage moisture against 65 percent relative humidity while also desorbing and reabsorbing against the ambient air. It's an important factor when it comes to the looming concern of dry rot. However, while there is moisture, wool is a keratin and will therefore not support mold growth. Using wool, said Weathers, makes the trailer feel "cozier" – a notion man- ufacturers and consumers can enjoy in equal measure. Pictured from left to right, Michael Elston, Clem Romero and Corey Weathers with Homegrown Trailers stand next to one of their teardrop trailers, which is insulated with Havelock Wool. Weathers, the company's co-founder and CEO, sees wool as a good, "green" alternative using foam, and believes other manufacturers may also come to see the value of using wool as an insulator. PHOTO COURTESY OF HOMEGROWN TRAILERS

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