BY: KEN WHITE, WCP, V.P. SALES
In 1986, Don Harvey was a self employed building contractor who thought it would be a great idea to build and sell picnic tables as a source of extra income. He and his wife, Nancy, lived on busy Route 15 in Glenburn and he would put the finished tables out by the road for sale. Don’s ideas never stopped and he eventually started to build utility trailers which he also set out by the road to sell. These proved to be very popular and Don and Nancy were off and running in the trailer business. Harvey Trailers became a significant player in the manufacture, sale, and service of trailers in Maine and beyond. Don and Nancy continued to expand the scope of their businesses and added RVs in 2002 and a truck accessories business in 2007. The RV business quickly grew, and in 2007 Harvey RVs opened their own location…back on busy Route 15 in Glenburn, across from Don & Nancy’s home. Don passed away in 2014 and Nancy sold the utility trailer and truck accessory business in 2015, but Nancy continues to own and operate Harvey RVs with longtime employee and General Manager, Matt Rublee at the helm.
Today, Harvey RVs has become the largest RV sales and service dealer in the state of Maine, selling well in excess of 300 new and used units annually. Their sales are comprised of 65% new RV sales and 35% used inventory sales. The tow-behind trailer remains Harvey RV’s bread and butter; however, they provide a full selection of models which includes new and used pick-up campers, pop-ups, 5th wheelers, tow-behinds and motorized campers. An inventory of such magnitude requires an 8 acre lot at their Glenburn facility. Matt states that “It’s very common for buyers to start with a pop-up and within a few years move up to a larger model with more amenities. Many campers will own as many as 5 different campers in their lifetime and change models based upon lifestyle and family requirements”.
Harvey RVs has three unique revenue streams; rec vehicle sales, service and accessory sales. Their new inventory is comprised of Prowler, Palomino, Coachmen, Sportec, Durango, Venom, Winnebago and Georgetown with each brand having its own area of specialty in the RV market. They pride themselves on an open customer showroom with a wide variety of inventory with all parts and items easily accessible to clients in customer view.
Currently, Harvey RVs has 26 employees handling sales, financing, inventory and service with service being the most heavily staffed area. Matt is quick to point out that it is the experience and dedication of his staff that helps set Harvey apart from its competitors. Quality service helps keep customers coming back and results in satisfied clients. In fact, Harvey’s has recently invested in an on the road service van to meet customers’ needs where required.
The computer age has become as important to the RV business as it has with many businesses more commonly associated with computers. From the time an RV is purchased to the point of delivery, the entire process is computerized. Each employee monitors the sales or service progress by using iPads as the RV moves from one station to the next when being readied for customer pickup.
Matt notes that change is coming fast to the camping industry. Where a slide-out was once a unique accessory, it’s now not unusual to have 2 or 3 slide outs in a unit. Also, power hitches, power stabilizers, power levelers, power awnings, large screen TV’s, electric fireplaces and outdoor kitchens are becoming more the industry norm. Higher quality and lighter building materials are also allowing easier pull for larger units. One of the more unique technological changes in newer units are outside solar hookups where 20” x 40” solar panels can recharge batteries and run lights and water pumps on units. LED lights are becoming the standard, which requires much less electricity than incandescent bulbs and gives off significantly less heat. Also, electrical control wall units for running lights, heat etc. are being replaced by iPads.
Harvey RVs is proof that old fashioned service coupled with a family oriented consideration for employees, while integrating the newest innovations in design, service automation and customer visibility through social media is a winning combination.
Ken specializes in personal and commercial insurance. He holds the Workers Compensation Professional designation.