December '17

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30 • RV PRO • December 2017 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S certain floorplans in 2016 and couldn't replace them in time this year. "I have to say that, as it has been in the past, our success in 2017 has been because of our great people. We continue to invest in training for our team, and that has led to them being dedicated to us, which shows in their hard work and commitment. "As a result, we've had several important pro- motions this year: Mike McNeil was promoted to general manager and Melissa Grace was promoted to service and parts manager, both at Dodd RV of the Peninsula. We made some other changes within our team in sales, finance, service, and parts and our operations manager, Brian Doss, has done a particularly great job. "Our team is the reason we are a repeat national champion for superior customer service – we won DealerRater.com's national Dealer of the Year Award for Superior Customer Service in 2016 and again this year. This is a great honor and it's only because our team does a fabulous job. "We didn't make many changes in our parts department this year and demand has been strong in parts, service, and finance. "Low interest rates, low fuel prices, stable employment, and consumer confidence help the entire industry and we have all of these in our favor right now. With that said, you still need a great team like ours and great processes to execute the game plan when the guests show up at the dealership. "It's important to add that we have been blessed with great instruc- tion from my dad, George Dodd, for many years. He started the company in 1956 and has played a key part for over six decades. He helped me and my sisters (co-owners Susie and Jennifer) learn this business from the bottom up and grow into running it, and he con- tinues to advise and coach us from the sidelines in retirement. We also have several other important coaches/consultants who continue to help us improve; some are other dealers and others are industry specialists. All are valuable assets to our company. "I think – and hope – that 2018 will be similar to 2017. RVs continue to grow in popularity and manufacturers continue to create exciting models with new features and Dodd RV will continue to sell and service them." Patrick Noble, co-owner Noble RV Owatonna, Minn. "So far, 2017 has been slightly ahead of last year, so we've had the year we hoped we'd have, but, of course, everyone always wants more. We did have one hail storm in 2017, but nobody can control nature. Luckily it wasn't major, so, while our metal-sided campers had light damage, it wasn't terrible. "As for shows, we did two in Rochester, two in Minneapolis, one in Owatonna, and one in Jackpot Junction – a casino show. Some are exposure shows and we actually sell units at the others. Traffic was as good as it's been, which is fine. "One change we did make in this area: We used to do five fair shows a year and we quit doing all of them. It's expensive to move everything there and then when it starts to rain it's really hard on the units. You can imagine, we're parked out in the grass and the mud and 4 inches of rain and then 20,000 people walk through the units with muddy feet … it just wasn't worth it anymore. "In terms of inventory, we already carry the Coachmen Pursuit, a great gas coach, and we added their Mirada line this year. It's the next level up, so now we have them both, and we sold out of both – that's successful to me. We're happy not to be sitting on three or four of them at this time of year. "We've started construction on a new dealership in Roch- ester, Minn., which is about 50 miles from Owatonna. All the groundwork is ready to accept blacktop and the foundations and aprons are done. We already have a store in Rochester, but we didn't own the land, so we bought 10 acres to build our own place. Construction is going well and we'll be moving our Rochester team into the new location – we've got a really great staff there – and maybe even adding a few new hires. We're all really excited about the opening in February. "One of the reasons we chose to expand our presence in Rochester is that it's soon to be the biggest city in Minne- sota. With the Mayo Clinic hiring 1,000 people a month, they're hiring absolutely everybody they can. Of course, that increased employment leads directly to an increase in con- sumer confidence and more spending money, and, when you combine that with good interest rates and the current stock market, things are looking great in terms of the new location and all our stores. "With everything else that's going on, we didn't make any sizeable changes in our parts and accessories lines. There was really nothing that needed fixing there. "Overall, my partner Mike, who is also my brother, and I are heading into 2018 with the sense that our glass is already 98 percent full." Mike Murphy, VP of operations Giant RV Montclair, Calif. "Since 2016, we've experienced incremental growth, year- over-year across all segments. Towables and toy haulers remain our strongest area, but we're seeing combined growth in entry- level gas and diesel units as well, especially the B (camper) vans. And I think that holds true across the industry. We didn't make many changes in our parts department this year and demand has been strong in parts, service, and finance. " "

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