From family fun to desires of exploring the great wide open, Fort Worth's Airstream of DFW makes dreams come true, Director of Marketing Anthony Miller said.
“RV ownership in general is a kind of lifestyle,” Miller said. “People often start with something small, then go up to something big as their family grows, then back to something small as they get older.”
Airstream of DFW facilitates such dreams through a combination of personal touch and local ties.
“Our welcome folder say, 'Welcome to our family,'” General Manager and Partner Colby Cannon said. “That's how we feel.”
A sentiment, Miller said, that extends beyond mere platitude.
“We don't say service,” Miller said. “It's always customer service, always customer focused.”
Airstream, at 109 N. Chandler Dr., is part of the Vogt family dealership group, a family with long ties to Cowtown and the RV industry.
Virgal Vogt opened Twin Points Camp on Eagle Mountain Lake in 1945 and Vogt Marine Dealership in 1950 on Belknap Street. Vogt also helped organize the Tarrant County Marine Dealers Association in 1958 and Fort Worth's first boat show that same year, according to Airstream's website.
Sons Randy and Danny Vogt subsequently developed Vogt's RV and travel trailer dealerships of which there are now four including Airstream of DFW.
“That's the largest thing,” Cannon said when asked what differentiates Airstream from other dealerships. “We're family owned and operated where so many dealerships are corporately owned. It's just a different vibe and feeling.”
“A lot of other places, you can't go in and talk to the guy who owns the company,” Miller said. “You'd have to go through 75 layers of people. That's not the case here. There's always someone here who has an ownership stake in the business who's willing to talk to you.
“We also have very low turnover in our sales staff and employees with many who have been here 10-plus years. That's unusual because a lot of dealerships, you go in Saturday to look around then, when you go back the next Saturday, there's a good chance whoever you talked to that first time is no longer there.
“Customers appreciate and feel comfortable with that, going in and seeing the same faces they saw last time they were here. It also means our sales and service team members know their stuff.”
Airstream's central location — two additional Vogt Fort Worth centers, one dedicated to service, the other selling Jayco and other RV brands — adds to convenience.
“A lot of RV dealers are quite a bit outside the Metroplex,” Miller said.
A visit to Airstream's showroom elicits nostalgia and a call to the open road. The sleek, silver trailers though modern on the inside hark back to the '50s and '60s exterior wise.
“They really have changed much,” Miller said. “Airstream has been around since 1931, the oldest RV manufacturer in the world. Between 65 percent to 75 percent of everything they've built since then is still on the road. That's a pretty unique statistic.”
Staff constantly seek ways to improve including the dealership's same day service of warranty claims.
“That's not the way of the RV industry,” Miller said. “Typically RV service appointments involve a two to four week process. We're trying to change the game by actually doing everything we can to get you in and out in one day.”
Fifty percent of buyers are first timers, Miller said, but they tend to become customers for life.
Prices run the gamut from Jaycos starting at about $12,000 to those and other models falling everywhere in between and into the $100,000 plus range. Customers span the spectrum from young families to empty nesters.
“Used to be a lot of baby boomers but the millennials have kicked in now too,” Cannon said. “Realizing the ability to control your environment RVs offer.”
From large to small, business decisions at Airstream of DFW filter through four questions: what's best for our customers, our partners, our team members and the bottom line, in that order Miller said.
“Every decision we make goes through those four questions,” Miller said. “We're selective in the products we sell and have to make money to keep the doors open obviously. But I think it's pretty unusual that we put the bottom line at the end.”
It's about positive customer experience, Cannon said.
“Family fun and making memories,” Cannon said. “Especially in this day and age when kids are attached to their electronics and the spirit of adventure to get out and see what the Lord made.”
This article originally was published in West Fort Worth Lifestyle.