Buddy Gregg: Industry Icon
Buddy Gregg, founder and president of Buddy Gregg Motor Homes Inc., passed away on December 30, 2009, at his home in Frisco, Texas. He was 69.
Buddy and his wife, Carole, opened their first RV dealership in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1984. In 1986 they moved the operation to Knoxville, Tennessee, beginning what would become one of the most successful high-line motorhome dealerships in the United States. Since its inception, Buddy Gregg Motor Homes has sold and serviced more than 100,000 recreation vehicles.
Currently the company, which is owned by private equity group, operates a second dealership in Lewisville, Texas. At one time Buddy also had dealerships in Junction City, Oregon, and Lakeland, Florida.
As an innovator and leader, Buddy built a reputation for providing quality service before and after the sale. Under his direction, the company was a perennial recipient of top 10 dealer awards from Monaco Coach and Country Coach, and Buddy Gregg Motor Homes earned renown as a high-volume and high-quality-service dealer. Buddy was a dealer at some point during his career for Blue Bird, Liberty Coach, Royale Coach, Millennium Coach, Fleetwood, Beaver, Monaco Coach, Country Coach, Newmar, and Itasca.
Buddy Gregg was a longtime supporter of FMCA. The dealership signed on as a commercial member in 1986, and Buddy served as a member of FMCA’s Commercial Council from 1987 through 1996.
“Buddy thought [his relationship with FMCA] was very important,” said Brian Griffitt, vice president of sales for Buddy Gregg Motor Homes, and Buddy’s son-in-law. “For years we were one of the major clients advertising in [Family Motor Coaching] magazine. He thought the hard-copy medium was one of the best ways to let customers know about the company.
“We were also at the [international conventions], either with sales representatives working in the manufacturer displays or in our own display. In 1994 there weren’t many dealers who had their own display. But Buddy thought we should have our own separate area where we could talk to customers and let them know about Buddy Gregg Motor Homes. He thought the relationship with FMCA was important, since nine out of 10 people that we would consider our customer base were members of FMCA.”
Buddy loved University of Tennessee football, reading, and watching his grandsons play high school football in Texas. *
Buddy is survived by his wife, Dorothy Carole Gregg; daughter Marla Carole Griffitt and her husband, Brian Griffitt; son Gregory; grandchildren Brian Griffitt II and Aaron Griffitt; brother Thomas; and sisters Ruth Ishe and Mary Cheatham. Memorial contributions may be made in Buddy’s name to the Mission of Hope, P.O. Box 51824, Knoxville, TN 37950.
RVIA’s “Centennial Charlie” To Appear At FMCA Convention
As America’s RV industry revs up for a year’s worth of celebrations in recognition of its 2010 Centennial, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is sending the “Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial” on a road trip. “Centennial Charlie,” a 34-inch American black bear stuffed animal, will honor the people who love RVing and the workers who are at the heart and soul of the RV industry.
In February RV companies and consumer shows participating in “Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan” were to begin hosting the 2010 RV Centennial mascot for a few days before sending him on to his next stop during the 100-day tour. The stuffed bear is scheduled to make an appearance at FMCA’s 83rd International Convention, the “Albuquerque Fiesta,” which will take place March 22 through 25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“When Charlie comes to visit RVIA member companies and consumer shows, he will be our industry’s ambassador in honoring both its industry workers and enthusiasts, so they, too, can celebrate the RV Centennial in a novel, exciting way,” Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer, said.
During Charlie’s visits, the staff at RV manufacturing companies and consumer shows will take photos of the bear with workers and show attendees. At the conclusion of Charlie’s journey, RVIA will produce a video chronicling the mascot’s tour, which will include photographs taken on his travels. The video will be shared with the RV industry at its June 7 celebration at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, and later will be posted on YouTube.
The American black bear is native to North America and lives in most areas of the United States. An American black bear named “Charlie” appeared in the 2006–2009 “What Will You Discover? Go RVing” television commercials. An animated American black bear appears in the Go RVing 2010 “Ambassadors of Affordability” advertising campaign, which was set to launch in mid-February.
RV Park Owners Anticipate Good Business In 2010
Even in the face of economic uncertainties, campgrounds and RV parks have remained economically resilient.
“We are very grateful for the level of business we’ve had,” said Jayne Cohen, president of Adventure Bound Camping Resorts in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, which owns and operates nine RV resorts, located in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Arizona. “When we closed down our November  numbers,” she said, “we were even with last year in revenue.”
That’s a significant accomplishment, Ms. Cohen said, not only in this economy, but given the fact that most of her company’s parks are in areas that suffered unusually cold and wet weather last summer. “We strongly feel that if we had not had bad weather, we would have been ahead of last year’s figures,” she said.
Most of the nation’s campgrounds, in fact, reported business levels in 2009 that were stable or slightly ahead of 2008 figures, and most private park operators expect their business levels to remain steady or experience continued growth in 2010.
“I’m very optimistic and very grateful for how we finished out ,” said Mark D. Anderson, president of Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort in Stow, New York. “Our reservations are looking very good for . We’re already just about full for Fourth of July weekend. And to be almost full at this time of year is pretty good.”
David L. Berg, chairman of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, said he is also optimistic about the level of consumer interest in camping in 2010. “I think we’re looking across the country to an improved camping season [this] year,” he said. “The state of the affairs of our economy has not hurt the camping business at all.”
Some park operators remain cautious, however.
Bruce Aljets, who owns Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, experienced a 17 percent jump in business in 2009, despite the recession. “I don’t know what to expect [this] year,” he said. “Being in South Dakota, we generally lag behind the rest of the country. But I’m going to hope for the best.”