New RV company Grand Design marks milestones

Grand Design RV celebrated three '100' milestones with their employees March 19.

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 19, 2013 at 3:57 p.m.

MIDDLEBURY — Grand Design RV, a recent start-up company, marked three “100” milestones Tuesday afternoon, March 19.

The company showed off their 100th employee, their 100th Solitude fifth-wheel trailer and their 100th day of shipping products to dealers.

“We’re celebrating today a bunch of hundreds,” said Don Clark, Grand Design president and co-owner, along with Bill Fenech and Ron Fenech.

They struck at a good time in the industry, too.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association recently revised its projections for industry growth this year to 7.5 percent.

Clark said their Solitude luxury fifth-wheel, a so-called “extended stay” model, “has been really well received by the retail consumers.” In fact, he said, the company has stopped signing on new dealers until they can keep up with demand.

“The shows have been absolutely phenomenal. The product has been turning (selling), in some cases, before it hits the lot,” he said.

Bill Fenech said the way Grand Design focuses on products is what sets it apart. “The other companies out there, typically they’ll build many brands,” he said. That made sense before the recession, but now that many dealers went under, Grand Design is taking a different approach.

Clark said they’ve just now prototyped a second Solitude model, which will be in full production in mid-April. A third Solitude version will start weeks after that.

They’ll role out another brand, offering a mid-range fifth-wheel and a mid-range travel trailer, in July, Clark said. “It’s more for the family,” with bunkhouses and other family-friendly options, Clark said.

The company might have a third brand going by the RVIA show in Louisville toward the end of the year, Clark said, but it depends on the market.

It was at the 2012 show that Clark and the Fenech brothers announced Grand Design to an overflow crowd of dealers, who were generally pleased with what the trio described as their vision for the new company.

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