RVB Reviving Top 50 Dealer Awards Program

RVBusiness is (re)launching the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards – a high profile promotion that RVB had coordinated on an annual basis until 2011 when the magazine and its RVBUSINESS.com website were purchased from Affinity Group Inc. by Elkhart, Ind.-based G&G Media Group LLC. And for a variety of reasons, the program was allowed to lapse.

“Why are we bringing it back now?” asks an upcoming national advertisement for the Top 50 revival. “Frankly, we’ve fielded a lot of requests from dealers who are still utilizing Top 50 logos today in their advertising, stores and show promotions. They miss it. So do we – the staffs of RVB and BJ Thompson Associates, the same people who last ran this program.

“More importantly,” says the ad, “we think it’s the right thing to do in backing up the efforts of RVIA, RVDA, RVDA of Canada, state associations and several private companies in helping to elevate the RV arena by recognizing superior retailers. And so do our sponsors: Ally Financial Inc., Blue Ox, Cummins Power Generation, Dometic Corp., Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF), Lippert Components Inc., Protective Asset Protection and Stag-Parkway Inc.”

The goal, RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg reports, is to basically pick up where everyone left off in 2011 in selecting 50 U.S. and Canadian dealerships for their commitment to best practices in terms of consumer care, business acumen, civic involvement and general professionalism with selections made by an independent panel of industry experts. In fact, nominations have already been received from an array of U.S. and Canadian manufacturers, who were asked to nominate their best dealers – not just their largest dealers – and applications are currently being forwarded to those retailers.

Then, RVB and BJTA will publicly recognize those dealers at an RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards reception open to all badge-wearing convention attendees on the evening of Wed., Nov. 12, during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip in cooperation with RVDA and RVDA of Canada. Also presented that evening will be an “RVBusiness Innovation Award” sponsored by Lippert Components for a dealer who has taken a thoroughly creative approach to his or her business, and an “RVBusiness Spirit Award” sponsored by Ally Financial for a retailer who has excelled in charitable giving.

Afterward, 2014 RV Business Top 50 dealerships’ names will be broadcast to the national trade and consumer media. Press release templates will be made available for dealers to distribute to their local and regional media, and Top 50 logos, as before, will be made available for dealers to use in various promotions.

“We’ve been in touch with RVDA President Phil Ingrassia and his people throughout this whole planning process,” Goldenberg noted, “and we can’t tell you how much we’ve appreciated their advice in getting the band back together, so to speak, and restarting the Top 50 program that we previously held under their auspices at the Rio in Vegas.”

“RVDA is pleased that the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Award program will once again be held in conjunction with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo,” Ingrassia stated. “The RVDA Convention/Expo Committee and RVDA board of directors agree that an event celebrating the achievements of RV dealers will be a great addition to the overall convention experience for attendees in Las Vegas.” (See the RVDA Con/Expo link below)

A few details regarding this year’s program:

• RVB and BJTA are asking for the return of filled out applications by July 31.

• In no way are nominated retailers being asked to answer any and all question(s) on the application if, in fact, a couple of them are considered too intrusive.

• Multi-store operations, as before, are limited to one award, regardless of how many storefronts they have. In other words, choose one.

• Dealers won’t be ranked from 1 to 50, although ten dealerships are to be recognized in no particular order above and beyond the rest as “Blue Ribbon” dealers.

• Although a given dealer may be nominated by several manufacturers, that won’t affect the selection process either way.

• Canadian dealers are included, as are retailers of park model RV’s.

General questions regarding the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards may be directed to Sherm Goldenberg at (574) 457-3370 or sgoldenberg@rvbusiness.com or, for submissions, to Barb Riley at BJ Thompson Associates (574) 255-5000/ext. 505 or briley@bjta.com. To register for the 2014 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, visit www.rvda.org/convention

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