TAXA Outdoors turned some heads – or going with the RV maker’s insect-themed brands, raised some antennae – at the March RVX trade show. During The Reveal portion, the Houston-based manufacturer took a sweep accolades that included Popular Mechanics’ 2019 Sustainability RV award and Outside Magazine’s RVX Gear of the Show – both for the 19-foot Mantis trailer.
The newer Tiger Moth model, which is constructed from lightweight aluminum and features a Truma Vario, grabbed a Judge’s Choice award. And that’s only to name a few; but what do you expect to happen when an ex-NASA engineer decides to manufacturer RVs?
TAXA founder Garrett Finney set out to disrupt the modern expectations of an RV. Beginning with the Cricket towable in 2010, TAXA’s product line boasted an instant rubberneck appeal. Four Open House events later, the manufacturer’s brands can be found in 22 dealerships across roughly 30 locations. And the company shows no sign of slowing. This spring, the company will be tripling its facility size with a single, highly flexible manufacturing line and offices that span 60,000 square feet.
It’s all in an effort to keep with demand. Since the relaunch of its website this summer – with a heightened focus on customer experiences and stories – TAXA has doubled its views and receives 200-plus leads a day.
“We’re trying to funnel them to our dealers as quickly as possible,” says TAXA Outdoors President Divya Brown. Now the focus is on working with dealers on ways to convert leads into purchases.
One solution can be seen at TAXA’s Open House exhibit. The stage is set with an outdoor camping motif with Finney usually grilling ribs or “something from Texas.” The atmosphere is meant to encourage dealers to find “21st Century” ways to sell, which may involve taking units such as the Tiger Moth or Woolly Bear to parks or concerts.
“We really try to set up a campfire scene because that works for our message,” says Finney. “It’s low key and casual and serious all at the same time.”
TAXA Outdoors will use Open House Week to showcase its 2020 Mantis trailer, which is receiving a new floorplan that includes a redesigned exterior with a roof that pops up. The trailer sleeps four.
This year, dealers have plenty to get excited about as the units across the board evolve with minor refinements.
The biggest revamp, however, will be for the 2020 Mantis, which is receiving a new floorplan that includes a redesigned exterior with a roof that pops up, allowing for four adults to sleep in the unit. Based off feedback from RVX, a rear hatch will be added, as well as a portable Dometic refrigerator. To enhance the kitchen experience, the folding couch will now be replaced by a dinette.
As with years past, special winter-edition panels in a different color will be available to interested dealers. With the new facility coming online next year, expect the offerings from this insect-themed manufacturer to take off on all six legs.
“Open House, for a smaller manufacturer like us, is a great opportunity to connect with dealers on a one-on-one basis and really explain a category of trailers that they are not familiar with,” says Brown. “This is an emerging and quickly growing category.”
Rocking concerts, lobster buffets, sports car raffles – these are a few flashy ways to win over dealers.
Braxton Creek, however, won’t be having any ’80s rockers headlining its display. Instead, the manufacturer leans on what CEO Jim Jacobs refers to quality consciousness.
“My attitude is: Go eat lobster – and then come back and buy a product from me,” says Jacobs, laughing. What the new-ish manufacturer – attending its now second Open House – lacks in exhibit entertainment, it hopes to make up for with top-grade RVs and decades of veteran experience.
“I’ve been in this business for 33 years,” says Jacobs, “and it’s all about the relationship we want to have with our dealer partners. We want to be friends with our dealers. We want to have an open and honest dialogue. And we want to come to the market with strong products and for our dealers to know that when they sell our products, they’re going to be backed up by a bumper-to-bumper, two-year warranty.”
Quality seems to be working for Braxton Creek which has doubled its dealership presence since January. That’s why Jacobs anticipates a big dealer attendance at the RV maker’s exhibit this Open House. That plus the new floorplans it will be showcasing for its 2020 LX travel trailers.
Braxton Creek will use Open House Week to highlight its LX line, which offers a variety of floorplans and plenty of amenities that come standard, including solid-surface countertops in the kitchen, a fireplace and flat-screen TV and a BAL five-point stabilizing system.
First revealed at RVX earlier this year, the new LX line sets itself apart nicely from the BX line. There’s a large range of floorplans to choose from, such as: a 25-foot bunkhouse model with a big slide and doubled-over double bunks with a rear bath; a 24-foot rear kitchen model with a big slide; a 23-foot model with a rear bath and big slide-out room as well. Solid-surface countertops in the kitchen, fireplace and flat-screen TV come standard, as well as the five-point BAL stabilizing system.
A new floorplan for the Bushwhacker teardrop trailer that includes a full bath and kitchen also will debut at Open House. Both the new LX’s and the new Bushwhacker will be available in September.
“We’re able to move really quick on our innovation. If we see something that needs to be changed, we change it. We’ve got a flexibility about us that most guys don’t,” says Jacobs. “Our production people are very quality conscious. And we’re building a great distribution network because we’ve got good sales guys in the field that genuinely care about the relationship with the dealers.”
It’s the heart of Braxton Creek’s philosophy. The manufacturer may be nascent, but it’s founded and chaired by a team of industry veterans that include Kent Yoder, who was with Jayco for nearly three decades.
To meet the growing demand, Braxton Creek plans on expanding its manufacturing facility in the next couple of years with an additional 50,000 square feet of space. By then, the company may be introducing a fifth wheel option. Like Jacobs says: “We still have a lot of runway to grow into.”