March '18

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44 • RV PRO • March 2018 rv-pro.com Distributor Best of Show 44 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com Vent Shade Upgrade Bauer Products recently fixed a common problem among many RVers: Interrupted sleep. By combining the innovation of Bauer's previous product Slim Shade – a recessed, pleated, tinted window shade replace- ment – the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supplier created an easy-to-install device that darkens rooms called Vent Shade. At supplier shows and the 2017 National RV Trade Show, people walking over to the AP Products table knew exactly what it was for. "It took very little explanation, and then when we told them how easy it was to install, they were even more excited about it," says Bruce Bacon, president of engineering at Bauer Products. Measuring 16-3/4 inches squared, Vent Shade is a fold that expands like an accordion with a Mylar backing to reflect sunlight. Installation requires taking out four screws from the existing garnish and replacing it with Vent Shade. The installa- tion is quick, and versatile. As a test, the team at Bauer installed it on an array of trailers made from 2014 to 2017. "I'm slower than the average person, and it took me 45 seconds to put it in," says Bacon, laughing. Vent Shade talks began in February, and it became available in November just in time to turn heads at the RVIA show in Louisville, Ky. Bauer made a championship belt for the product when it won by overwhelming votes at 2018's Northern Whole- sale show. The orders from the distributor shows this winter were sig- nificant, he says. "The thing I heard more than anything was: 'Why hadn't anyone come out with this before?' And that was reaffirming," says Bacon. "Because when you go and develop a product, you're not really sure what the market is going to be. So, when you start getting that type of feedback, you get to sleep a little bit easier." The idea came from listening to customers. During an open house in Grand Rapids, Bacon heard people commenting on the Slim Shade. They liked it, but hoped for something similar for vents. It's a common issue seen among customers. Light pours in from the bedroom ceiling of an RV around 6 a.m., and can sometimes hit directly where the pillow is, interrupting sleep. For the most part, RVers stick a pillow in the vent to darken the room. The Vent Shade is innovation at its simplest, so much so that one of the top five RV manufacturers will be adding it to some of its product lines. Bauer is in talks with other OEMs. What impressed RV PRO: The Vent Shade is a heavy-duty, long-needed fix to an issue that's beleaguered RVers for a long while. Its simplistic design and installation should make OEMs rightfully consider making it a standard on RV units. www.bauerproducts.com

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