Looking outside, it is hard to believe but spring is on the way. Black’s Home Sales has been gearing up for it on several different fronts.
Last week we attended the Champions Dealer’s conference. What is this, you ask? It was a select number of top dealers invited to preview and give opinions on new products. We reviewed new floor plans, decor boards, and exterior options. We also discussed changes at the Claysburg, PA plant.
The biggest thing happening at Champion is a re-branding. The Champion plant at Claysburg will now be producing Atlantic Homes. The Champion Name will not represent one plant but, instead, the entire corporate structure. Champion currently has 26 plants in the US, 5 in Canada, and 1 in England. Champion is the largest Canadian builder. Three of the Champion’s US plants are located in Pennsylvania. With so many facilities, Champion has great purchasing power which means some of the best product and pricing on the market.
Additionally, Champion is restructuring their production facilities this coming year. In order to make the product and pricing even better, they are separating the production of their finished Drywall and Vinyl on Gypsum homes (VOG). The Claysburg, PA facility will be exclusively producing homes with finished drywall, while the Ephrata, PA plant will be producing homes with VOG. This helps to streamline the workflow and materials that each facility needs. It will also allow more effort to be spent on the particular product that each plant is producing instead of splitting time and resources between many different products. These changes are geared to providing customers with a better price and product.
Our concern about the change was the location of the plants. We have enjoyed the advantages of being 15 minutes away from Champion’s Claysburg, PA plant. This proximity has provided us a personal dealer/factory relationship, low freight cost, and an excellent service relationship. The Ephrata plant which is where the VOG houses will be built is over two hours away. However, after attending the dealers’ conference, the team at Champion was able to address each of these concerns. First, we will be maintaining our local sales rep as our point of contact. Second, the sample home pricing provided to us was significantly reduced to offset any increases in freight. Last, the service department at Claysburg will remain intact and continue to service all of our houses. Of course, all of our customers will also have our in-house service department available to address any of their concerns.
The products we reviewed were being presented in a conceptual phase. Below is a photo I took showing a new exterior look. There were four versions of this elevation shown to us, with this one constructed. Let me say that I liked this new exterior look. My only suggestion was replacing the white with gray siding around the door to break up the white. We do not have pricing so we don’t know if this will be a reasonable option for a unique exterior look or something a little more expensive. The final product decisions are to be presented to retailers March 23rd-25th at Champion’s Spring Show.
We were also presented with some new décor options. One of my favorite new options was the beautiful hickory cabinets. The new décor board colors look great as well. There were four color pallets presented, gray, brown, black, and a rust décor package. Each package has coordinating countertops, wallboard, flooring, tile, etc. Allow me to leave you with two points. First, these changes mean we will be selling a lot of our current display homes and bringing in new homes. Feel free to browse our Champion display homes for details. Second, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us, give us a call or stop by and we can tell you about the changes and product as we get more information.