Once Upon a Prime Time

Prime Time Manufacturing leaves its mark through ongoing innovation in its newest family-forward Sanibel fifth wheel.

Prime Time Manufacturing began its operations in 2009 — arguably one of the worst economic climates the RV industry has seen — yet the company is still innovating today, with new floorplans that are industry firsts. The ability to not only start but also successfully build a company to where Prime Time is today is a testament to the manufacturer’s philosophy of innovation and a desire to set themselves apart.

“Prime Time’s story began in 2009, driven by a desire to connect with our buyers and improve the RV experience,” says Mark Baskerville, regional sales manager for Prime Time, South Central territory. “Prime Time started under the Forest River umbrella with Pete Liegl parnering with a couple RV industry veterans.”

Setting the Company Apart

Mark Baskerville, Prime Time regional sales manager, South Central territory.

Baskerville says the founders felt inspired to create a company that would be unique from the rest in a couple of very specific ways: innovation and a family-like atmosphere.

“We work to have innovative floorplans and features as well as a more close-knit family atmosphere,” he says. “We really want our customers to feel a difference. From servicing to warranty claims, we want to be set apart.”

Two ways the company works to achieve that distinction is through their Customer Assurance Inspection (CAI) facility and their concierge service. Baskerville says the CAI facility is a 125-point, white-glove checklist that every Prime Time unit goes through on top of the PDI (predelivery inspection).

The Concierge Service is made up of Prime Time’s service and warranty teams. Each team in parts, warranty and service have a territory they are responsible for, which allows their dealer network to build rapport and relationships with the teams.

“The year 2009 was definitely a very interesting time both economically in the country and in the RV industry. So is 2024 — both economically and in the RV industry,” he says. “Just like at the time of the founding of our company, specifically our fifth wheel team, we feel we are doing some really exciting things. Some things that are one of one.”

This is especially true for the manufacturer’s Sanibel lineup.

‘Champagne on a Budget’

As a company, Baskerville says, “Since the onset we have been a company that’s taken a lot of pride in offering a lot of different options, within both floorplans in each segment and different segments. We have always wanted to offer a wide range of options.”

Sanibel falls in the full-profile, wide-body luxury fifth wheel segment.

“We believe Sanibel is one of the most feature-rich products on the market with all of the bells and whistles. We believe we stack up against brands that are exceedingly more expensive than us with quality and features,” Baskerville says. “We are economy luxury, or champagne on a budget.

“There are a lot of options out there for campers to pick from. What we believe keeps us standing out from the rest is real innovation. We’re not using it as a throwaway term. It drives our decision-making, new floorplans we come out with or taking a tried-and-true floorplan to the next level.”

Baskerville says that while they strive to keep Sanibel affordable, they also work to provide super innovative floorplans with a wow factor, in both engineering and features.

Thoughtfully Designed for Families

Sanibel’s newest floorplan, the 3952FBWB, has had a great reception with both dealers and customers alike thanks to its thoughtfully designed layout with families in mind.

“We talk about family, and families are made up of different people. We believe that what we’ve given mom and dad in the bedroom with a king bed, fireplace and dual vanity is a warmth and feeling of home,” Baskerville says. “It feels more like a hotel suite than a camper. We wanted the master suite to feel different than any other bunkhouse on the market. Usually, you get a stuffy little space in the front cap of the unit. So, we put mom and dad in the back for full height and space.”

The bunk beds are comfortable for kids of all ages.

With the parents in the back of the coach, kids get the front to themselves. Bunk beds are affixed to the wall to work as a more flexible space depending on a family’s needs. With how the bunks are set up, there’s space to easily use a Pack ‘n Play for babies or toddlers. But that’s not all the bunk room is set up for.

“The bunk room was designed so that it’s not just set up to work for little kids. A lot of bunkhouse units have little flip down bunks that hold up to 100 pounds. Once a kid gets in high school or comes back from college, they can’t sleep there anymore. This room works for toddlers, kids and older kids. It’s still going to work for that family,” he says.

The bunkhouse also has a dedicated desk space. Baskerville says many customers who have purchased the 3952 are full-timers traveling and homeschooling their kids, so a dedicated desk space is a big bonus. The bunkhouse also provides its own bathroom and entertainment slide with a TV.

“They can hang out in their room with some privacy. The space is multifunctional. We want it to be many different things for many different people. It’s what we think makes it so unique. We’ve sold to families with very young kids and retirees with no kids at all that want to modify the bunk room. One lady was going to put a sewing machine in and make it a ‘she-shed,’” Baskerville says. “We feel like we really hit a home run for our customers with this floorplan. The way I picture the coach in my brain is in three sections. Mom and dad have a space in the back that is truly immaculate, and the kids have a space in the front that is unique. The middle of the coach is a space for the family to come together.”

Baskerville says many standard bunkhouses have theater seating for two and a dining table, so when it’s time to watch a movie together the kids are stuck sitting on the floor or at the dinette.

Sanibel’s fix? The Super Sofa and a pop-up kitchen bar. Kids can dine at the pop-up kitchen bar and parents can utilize the sofa and a TV tray to eat.

“The 1950s style of everybody sitting at the dinner table is not as common as it once was. This style of dining is much more common, especially when camping,” he says.

The Super Sofa has five recliners, so the whole family can sit together and watch the game or a movie.

And while Sanibel offers all the upgraded touches a customer expects in a luxury fifth wheel coach — like a large four-burner stove and full-size appliances — it remains “aggressively affordable.”

But how?

The living space in the Sanibel includes a pop-up kitchen bar with seating.

“The biggest way I believe we’re able to accomplish what we’re doing and keep it within cost is to keep it as standard as we can. It’s super streamlined and super standard in the way that we build them. The floorplan is multifunctional to work for different customers in different ways, but we also make decisions that limit one-offs at the plant, such as colors,” Baskerville says. “It’s how we’re really able to keep our costs down internally and keep our product so feature-rich and affordable.”

The 3952FBWB didn’t just focus on an innovative floorplan; attention was given to the décor as well. Baskerville describes the unit’s décor as elegant and modern — a chic style with two-tone cabinetry, including Surfside Smoke. It features herringbone-patterned flooring, brass-looking hardware, a subway tile backsplash and more.

Baskerville says the price point on the floorplan has been about $70,000 at shows. The MSRP is $101,000.

Always Original

“At Prime Time, we don’t clone brands. So, there’s no clone products between Sanibel and Crusader, our other fifth wheel brand,” Baskerville says. “We are doing some really great innovative things in that lineup also.”

Specifically in the Crusader, Baskerville references the 375FLS, which features a front living room, but not just any front living room.

“We put a 70-inch TV in that front living room, and it’s also the first-time Prime Time’s ever put in a Smart TV. We really went all in on this floorplan. In the kitchen we have a butler’s pantry, and in the bedroom we did a little vanity top/place for your laptop where you can sit.”

Baskerville says there’s a third thing that sets Prime Time apart from the rest: its sales representatives.

“We work our territories in a specific way. We do quarterly training visits and try to get to every single one of our dealers at least three to four times a year,” he says. “Whether it’s newsletters, different marketing tools they can use or simply staying engaged with the sales team and our product, we take great pride in how we work our accounts and work with our dealers. The Primetime experience should be felt not only by the retail customer, but the dealer partners as well. We set out to have that family culture as an RV manufacturer, and while our retail customers are a priority, it’s not only them that benefit from that culture. Our dealers do too.”

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