RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards Debut in ’08

RVBusiness magazine is raising the bar this year on industry quality by introducing a new concept in the recreational vehicle marketplace that should soon develop into an industry tradition: The RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards.
The goal of this new initiative, similar in many ways to RVB’s sister trade publication’s annual Boating Industry Top 100 program, is to select America’s 50 best RV retailers in terms of consumer care and best business practices.
Identifying the country’s top 50 RV dealerships is not an easy task, so RVBusiness is seeking nominations from the nation’s RV manufacturers. Nominated dealers will be asked to fill out an application, which will be subject to review by an independent assessment panel of industry “experts” not associated with RVBusiness or its parent company, Affinity Group Inc. That panel ultimately makes the selections.
The RVBusiness Top 50 dealers are to be recognized in the pages of RVB, on RVBUSINESS.com and during a gala all-industry event at the first annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards Reception & Dinner on the evening of Sept. 24 during the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas. At the Rio, RVB plans to bring together the Top 50 dealership principals and some of their key personnel along with a host of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and a celebrity guest speaker – legendary NCAA basketball coach Bob Knight.
“After the event draws to a close and the awards have all been handed out, we’ll work with our public relations agency, Allison & Partners, to promote the winners in the national press and in dealers’ local newspapers,” said RVB Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “And we’ll expose them to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages – and on the websites – of our RV-related consumer magazines, including Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.”
Among the ground rules for the first-ever RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards:
• Multi-store operations, if nominated, are limited to one award, regardless of how many storefronts they have.
• A manufacturer in some cases can nominate dealers for separate divisions, if those divisions are indeed stand-alone entities.
• Dealers will not be ranked from 1 to 50, yet five dealerships will be recognized above and beyond the others. One will receive the newly designated Dave Altman Award for Excellence, named after the late Southern California retailer and popular industry activist.
• Since they’re the source of the nominations, manufacturers will not be among the companies serving as sponsors of the RVB Top 50.
• Manufacturers, if they so choose, may submit nominations in confidence.
• A given dealer may be nominated by several manufacturers.
• Participation is limited to U.S. dealers, but plans tentatively call for an expansion next year to include Canadian dealers.
• Recreational park trailer dealers are not involved; RVB’s staff will take a look at that their inclusion next year.
• The names of the individuals involved in assessment panel will be released at a later date.
Questions regarding the first-ever RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards may be directed to Goldenberg, who also serves as vice president of RV trade publications for Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity, at (574) 457-3370, fax (574) 457-8295 or by email at sgoldenberg@affinitygroup.com. For submission of nominations, manufacturers are being asked to contact Barb Riley or B.J. Thompson at BJ Thompson Associates, Osceola, Ind., at (574) 255-5000, fax (574) 255-4834 or by email at briley@bjta.com or bjthompson@bjta.com.

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