William Garpow, RPTIA, Inc. NEWS RELEASE (770) 251-2672 RETIREES ACROSS THE NORTHERN U.S. ARE DISCOVERING THAT PARK MODELS OPEN THE DOOR TO AN AFFORDABLE, ENDLESS SUMMER About 3,900 of the nation’s 8,000 private campgrounds and RV parks accommodate park models, a 400-square foot, cottage-like RV product that can be placed on leased campsites for $1,500 to $5,000 per year, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) HOPKINS, Mich., Aug. 28, 2006 ─ For most of the nation, Labor Day weekend spells the end of the summer camping season, but not for Dean and Deb Neild. The young, semi-retired couple enjoys an affordable, endless summer in the great outdoors by living part-time in two recreational park trailers or “park models,” one of which they keep at Sandy Pines, an RV resort in Hopkins, Mich., the other at Towerpoint RV Resort in Mesa, Ariz. “Summer never really ends for us,” said Deb Neild, 45. “When it’s really hot in Arizona, we’re here in southern Michigan. And when everybody here is complaining about how cold it is and they’re shoveling snow, we’re in Arizona where it’s 60 or 70 degrees. It’s really the best of both worlds.” The Neilds are living this lifestyle for a fraction of what someone would pay if they tried to do the same thing with a condo or site-built home. Unlike mobile homes, which are a form of low-cost, permanent housing, park models are 400-square foot movable resort cottages with traditional peaked and shingled roofs that are designed exclusively for part-time recreational use. Typically upscale in appearance, they often include bay windows and lofts, as well as walnut, oak or maple cabinetry. And because they are technically classified as recreational vehicles, park models can be placed in scenic campgrounds and RV resorts near lakes and beaches. Financially, the park model lifestyle is hard to beat. Most units retail for less than $40,000, and they can placed on leased sites in roughly 3,900 of the nation’s 8,000 private campgrounds and RV parks for $1,500 to $5,000 per year, depending on location. “Some people like rustic, log cabin-style park models. Others prefer high- end units with flat screen TVs, granite countertops, French doors and river rock fireplaces. But no matter which kind of park model they choose, park models offer consumers the ability to enjoy a lifestyle they may not otherwise be able to afford,” said Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), the Newnan, Ga. Garpow added that the idea of purchasing two or more park models and placing them in different geographic locations is a newly emerging phenomenon. Roughly 5 percent of the consumers who purchased park models this year are either seriously considering or have already purchased a second unit to enjoy an endless summer lifestyle, he said. Butch and Lynne Cleveringa of Grand Rapids, Mich. were restauranteurs when they bought their first park model in Florida as a winter getaway 11 years ago. Then they got the idea of purchasing a second park model at Sandy Pines for use as a weekend retreat from the restaurant business. But when the Cleveringas retired three years ago, they realized that their park models gave them the ability to enjoy an endless summer. So they sold their house in Michigan and moved into their park models. They now spend May to October in their Trophy park model at Sandy Pines, so they can be close to their five children and nine grandchildren in southern Michigan. Then when the leaves start to change, they head down to Pine Island, Fla., near Ft. Myers, where they have another Trophy park model. “We have near perfect weather year round,” Butch Cleveringa said. “Even in December and January, we’re enjoying temperatures that average 74 degrees.” Retirees in other states are pursuing the same park model strategy. “This is a lifestyle we couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Doug Dahlquist, who keeps one park model at Lakeside Acres RV Park in Brainerd, Minn. and the other at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande, Ariz. All that’s really required, he said, is a good marriage and a willingness to live part time in a 400- square foot space. Growing numbers of retirees are giving the dual park model concept a chance, while complementing scores of working professionals, families and retirees who use park models as weekend retreats and seasonal vacation dwellings. Last year, in fact, the park trailer industry recorded its highest shipment levels in the industry’s 22-year history, with shipments rocketing 8 percent over 2004 figures. More manufacturers are also getting into the park model business. Nearly 50 companies in eight states currently manufacture park models, with many new companies coming online in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, where they can take advantage of relatively inexpensive labor combined with proximity to RV parks and campgrounds across the Sunbelt. Demand for park models is being fueled by rising real estate costs, which are prompting retirees, working professionals and families to seek out more affordable options in vacation homes. Many are finding park models suit the bill because they enable them to live part time in resort settings they couldn’t otherwise afford. Dahlquist has seen a transformation take place in his own RV park, as retirees trade in their travel trailers for park models, which generally provide more living space. So has Sandy Pines. Eighty seven percent of Sandy Pines 2,212 sites are currently occupied by park models, compared to 75 percent in 1999, said Max Gibbs, Sandy Pines’ director. The Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association represents 46 recreational park trailer manufacturers. Each has pledged to the association that they will adhere to the American National Standards Institute ANSI A119.5 standard, which mandates more than 500 separate safety requirements for recreational park trailers. RPTIA assists its members in complying with the ANSI standard by providing unannounced inspections of the units being produced at the members’ manufacturing facilities by accredited third party engineering firms. RPTIA members who are in compliance with the standards program earn the right to proudly display RPTIA’s gold, blue and green oval seal, which is typically placed adjacent to the primary entrance to the recreational park trailer. To obtain photos, statistics, consumer and campground contacts or other information regarding the growth of the recreational park trailer industry, please contract William Garpow at (770) 251-2672 or visit the association’s website at www.rptia.com.