By Russ and Tiña De Maris
In a move that might be viewed as a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” National RV Supply Company, a major wholesale RV parts and supply distributor, has shut down sales to the public. Evidently “the public” includes RV dealers who’ve come to depend on the outfit for getting parts for their customers.
Looking a little deeper at the situation makes for some disturbing possibilities. First, National RV Supply is a “sister company” of Camping World, the Marcus Lemonis-directed behemoth that’s been gobbling up RV dealers across the country. Back in 2016 Camping World made big fanfare of its magnanimous offer to sell wholesale to independent RV dealers and parts retailers.
Here’s a quote from Camping World’s own news release on the topic. Using the words of Johnny Sirpilla, Chief Business Development Officer, the company touted, “‘2015 saw a significant shake up in the aftermarket space and obvious pricing changes to the dealer network,’ … ‘We are RV people and proud to accept the responsibility to serve our own to ensure dealers can quickly and price competitively serve the RV consumer to ensure they stay in the RV lifestyle.’”
The reference to 2015 was when the industry was rocked by yet another takeover. At that time, three major RV parts distributors – NTP Distribution Inc., Stag-Parkway Inc., and The Coast Distribution System, Inc. were snapped up by LKQ Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that apparently decided that selling auto parts wasn’t enough – that RV parts could be a lucrative part of their portfolio.
Now that Camping World/National RV Supply has decided to chop off sales to independent RV parts users and sellers, competition that would ordinarily tend to keep prices in check is throttled back that much more. Not only can one foresee a possible effect on the wallet, who knows what it may also do to wait times for parts for repair jobs. But no doubt, Camping World’s Lemonis sees a silver lining in what for others will be a dark cloud – a silver lining in his own pocket.