If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know,” and never understood it, I was there also. I sold my family business about 18 months ago to a much larger company. At the time, I thought that knew a lot about the RV industry, after all, I was a third-generation owner. I figured if my grandfather and father had been successful for over 50 years, what they’d taught me ought to be enough. That idea, that concept embedded into the depths of my thought, couldn’t have been more wrong. I soon would learn “what I didn’t know.”
The first six months were really a blur. Our projections and goals were constantly changing based on more growth than I ever could’ve imagined. All of the new tools and information I now had at my disposal were amazing. Any question I had could be answered, and hunches could now be backed up with quantifiable data. I’ll admit it was a bit of an overload at first, but now it has become normal.
To people that have been brought into the light after having been in the dark, the world seems amazing, and this is how I felt. Along with this amazing feeling also comes a bit of shame. I now can say, “I didn’t know what I now know.” Shame comes from knowing that in 50 years of business, we never truly grew. Not when I came home from college with all my “fancy” degrees and learning. Not from an evolving economy. We only focused on small, consistent growth that was very risk-averse and preservation-minded. Debt was always considered bad. Sure, we made a great living, but now I know what could’ve been.
So to all those out there who “don’t know what you don’t know,” I suggest you learn before it cost you as much as it cost me. Sure, it cost me in the valuation of my company, but most of all, it cost me years of personal and professional growth. Now I am always searching for ways to improve, so if I am ever in the same position, my “don’t know” won’t last very long.
If you own an RV dealer, supplier, or OEM and would like to explore your growth options or exit options, I would welcome an opportunity to speak with you. Feel free to contact me for a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation at email@example.com or 208-521-1521. I look forward to speaking with you.Read More
The REV Group (NYSE: REVG), a $2+ billion manufacturer of specialty vehicles, recently acquired Midwest Automotive Designs (“Midwest”), a leading converter and upfitter of luxury vans and RVs.
Midwest was formerly owned by private equity group, Pegasus Capital Group (“Pegasus”). In just three years as part of the Pegasus portfolio, Midwest’s revenue more than doubled to $45 million. Founder and President, Tim Gray, remained a major shareholder following the original investment. Gray’s leadership and the capital infusion accelerated the company’s expansion by leveraging Midwest’s superior products, reputation and brand to develop new markets and distribution channels, including those for Class B RVs.Read More
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, RV wholesale shipments are expected to reach 479,700 units by year-end 2017, an 11.4% increase from the 430,700 units shipped in 2016, and climbing an additional 2.4% to reach 491,200 units in 2018. These projections were presented by industry expert, Dr. Richard Curtin in the RVIA’s Fall issue of RV RoadSigns newsletter. This would make 2018 the ninth consecutive year of expansion for the RV market, eclipsing the previous record of five growth years between 2002-2006.
“The favorable RV outlook is based on continued modest gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth with relatively low levels of inflation, unemployment and interest rates,” said Dr. Curtin, who is the Director of the Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan and who has conducted RV industry market research for almost 30 years.
Towable RV shipments are project to rise to 419,500 in 2017 and to 429,300 in 2018. Motorhome shipments will also see gains, growing to 60,200 units in 2017 and 61,900 units in 208.
Dr. Curtin’s 2018 projections are based, in part, on the strong performance of the RV industry through the first half of 2017. RV wholesale shipments reached 256,430 units, up 13.3% over the first six months of 2016. Year-to-date totals for towable RVs are up 13.2% to 223,644 units with motorhome shipments up 14% to 32,786 units.
The continued growth in the RV industry confirm’s Jackim Woods & Co’s predictions that mergers and acquisitions activity in the industry will remain strong throughout 2018.
For more information on RV market data and research, visit the “Market Data and Trends” section of www.rvia.org.
Jackim Woods & Company RV Industry White Papers
For additional information on Recreational Vehicle industry mergers & acquisition or how to value an RV dealer, please download one or more of our recreational vehicle white papers.
- 2017-2018 RV Manufacturing Mergers & Acquisitions Outlook
- 2016-2017 RV Dealer Mergers & Acquisitions Report
- How to Value an RV Dealer
Forest River acquired the assets of Turtle Top, a premier luxury bus manufacturer based in New Paris, Indiana. Turtle Top, a family-owned RV manufacturer since 1962, is widely recognized today as a leader in the luxury transportation industry. Turtle Top designs and manufactures buses and specialty vehicles for some of the most prestigious names in the motor coach industry, as well as numerous state and government agencies. Turtle Top’s current bus models include the Van Terra, VT3, Odyssey, Odyssey XL, Odyssey XLT and MPV, which provide convenient and dependable transportation for colleges, churches, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, transportation companies and government agencies. In addition, Turtle Top’s specialty vehicle division builds everything from limousines to bloodmobiles and prisoner transport units to mobile offices.
“We are excited to welcome Turtle Top to the Forest River family. Turtle Top and their dedicated employees have built a history of integrity, quality and innovation and enjoy one of the best reputations in our industry today,” stated David Wright of Forest River. “We are honored that they have chosen Forest River to continue the tradition that they have dedicated themselves to building for more than 50 years.”
Details of the transaction were not announced.Read More
Forest River announced that it has acquired the assets of Battistic Customs, a luxury conversion company for buses and vans (Mecedes, Ram ProMaster, etc.). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Started in 2009 by Bill Battisti and Carl Hazzard, the conversion builder builds a wide range of custom vehicles, including limos, luxury shuttle buses, and day cruiser RVs. Given the increasing business Battistic is seeing, they will be from their current 30,000-square-foot facility into a 60,000-square-foot facility by the end of June.
“Carl and I looking forward to joining Forest River and continuing to grow the company we created,” said Bill Battisti, president of Battisti Customs. “Battisti Customs has always provided the highest level of customer service and quality interior conversions. Through our sale to Forest River, we will have the opportunity to expand our line of diversified products. We are excited about the future opportunities for our business, our customers, and our employees.”Read More
Mergers and acquisitions firm, Jackim Woods & Co released its third white paper covering the recreational vehicle sector. This white paper, entitled How to Value an RV Dealer, looks at the factors that create value in an RV dealership and explores one of the methods that buyers use to determine the value of an RV dealer using the actual financial results of an actual client (albeit with the name changed to protect confidentiality).
If you own an RV manufacturer, dealer or supplier and would like to explore your options, feel free to contact Rich Jackim for a free, confidential consultation at 224-513-5142 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Camping World Holdings continued its expansion in the state of Virginia with the acquisition of Reines RV Center, with locations in both northern and central Virginia. Camping World currently operates SuperCenters in the Roanoke, Winchester, and Richmond, VA areas. The Reines RV Center acquisition further expands the market footprint, increasing Camping World’s current presence in the state of Virginia to six SuperCenter locations. “Over the past 70 years, the Reines family and staff have been honored with many awards for sales and consumer excellence and we look forward to continuing their high standards of quality and service,” said Brent Moody, COO of Camping World. “This important acquisition reinforces our commitment to further expansion in the state of Virginia and our focus on increased market share with our country-wide expansion.”Read More
KV Private Equity, based in Edmonton, Alberta, announced that it has acquired Northern Lite as it’s first investment. Located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Northern Lite manufactures high-end fiberglass truck campers, which are distributed throughout Canada and the U.S. via a well-established dealer network. Northern Lite is recognized for high standards of quality and workmanship, and the lightweight design of its products. “We are excited to have the opportunity to continue building this exceptional business. It is an honor that Mac Donkin (Northern Lite’s former owner) will continue with us as a director, and that his son Keith has agreed to join us as a shareholder, while also staying on as the general manager of Northern Lite,” said Jonathan Herman, COO of KV Private Equity. Mac Donkin stated, “Northern Lite has been very successful over the last 27 years, I know that the best days are in front of it and that the company is in great hands with Keith and KV.”Read More
Nelson’s RV of Boise, Idaho, has announced that it was acquired by Camping World, the nation’s largest network of RV retail locations, after more than 33 years of serving Treasure Valley customers. Nelson’s RVs was founded in 1983 by Byron and Donna Nelson, Wilma and Roy Petersen, and Karen and Tom Nelson. Since then the company has sold approximately 27,000 trailers, campers and motorhomes. Many of those sales were to repeat customers who kept coming back for the special care that was Nelson’s specialty. This attention to customer service helped make Nelson’s RV one of Idaho’s largest-volume dealers.
The sale, which was finalized on April 6, includes three Nelson’s locations – two in Boise at 4911 and 5309 Chinden Blvd., and one at 5500 E. Cleveland Blvd. in Caldwell. The transaction includes inventory of nearly 500 RVs; two fully-equipped, state-of-the-art service departments; two newly expanded parts departments; and a full truck, hitch and accessory shop. The terms of the transaction were not announced.
The acquisition increases Camping World’s presence in Idaho to five locations, including two supercenters in the Meridian and Idaho Falls areas. Camping World will continue to operate the two Boise locations as Nelson’s RVs, while rebranding the Caldwell location as a Camping World RV SuperCenter. Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World, said the Nelsons and their team “have served Idaho and Eastern Oregon with premier recreational vehicle services for over 33 years. We look forward to continuing their high standards of quality and service and solidifying our leading position in the state of Idaho.”Read More
Camping World Holdings, one of the largest RV retailers in the country, has acquired the Safford RV dealership in Thornburg, VA. The dealership started with a store in Bowling Green, Ky, in 1966. Now headquartered in Lincolnshire, Ill., it has more than 115 SuperCenters nationwide, including two in the Roanoke and Winchester areas. It also recently purchased McGeorge’s RV in Richmond.
“Our two organizations have such strong synergies in terms of customer service, product offerings and geographic presence, and we look forward to continuing Safford RV’s high standards of quality and service, while solidifying our leading position in the state,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Holdings and Good Sam, in a news release.