Business profile: RV & Marine Supplies


Combining more than 100 years of skill and experience, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable team within the RV industry than at RV & Marine Supplies…

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With a huge range of caravan parts and RV supplies, RV & Marine Supplies is a one-stop shop for anyone looking for spare parts, accessories, or just good advice. Established in the late 1990s, managing director and current owner Kevin Newton took over the business in 2008. He explains that the aim of the business is simple: "To offer the best choice, best prices, and best service."

Kevin says what really sets RV & Marine supplies apart is the knowledge base of his experienced team. "Our clients know that when they ring us, whoever answers the phone will be able to answer their questions. And if not, they’ll quickly be put through to someone who can," he says.

"Most of the staff have either worked here since the business started, or they’ve had lots of experience elsewhere within the industry."

THE BEST GLOBAL BRANDS

RV & Marine Supplies import their massive range from trusted suppliers around the world. This means they can buy direct and offer the best value. "We regularly benchmark our prices against global pricing. This means we beat most other distributors on price, including parallel importers," says Kevin.

As well as being official New Zealand distributors for well-known brands such as Thule (RV), Suburban, Milenco, Kronings and Valterra, the company has recently become the New Zealand service centre for UK pump and appliance manufacturer Whale. Whale water products are installed in virtually every English caravan and motorhome that comes into the country. The company is around 200 years old and it made parts that went into the Titanic.

"Whale needed a New Zealand-based centre to manage their warranty and service requirements. And because our technicians are highly experienced, they asked us to take on that role, and it’s working out very well," says Kevin.

AN EVER-EXPANDING RANGE

Kevin and his team are constantly on the look-out for exciting new products to expand their range. Soon to arrive is the Vango range of inflatable awnings. "Vango awnings are very quick and easy to set up," says Kevin.

"Instead of heavy, cumbersome poles, the awnings contain strong, inflatable tubes referred to as air beams. As there are no frame poles, the weight of the awning is much lighter than traditional awnings and there are no poles to worry about losing, bending or breaking. What’s even more exciting for motorhome owners are the drive away products, allowing you to leave your awning on site while out touring for the day."

RV & Marine Supplies is also about to launch a new range of New Zealand-manufactured toilet additives. "We’re expecting the range to be hugely popular, so keep an eye out for more details in the upcoming issues of Motorhomes Caravans and Destinations, and on our website," says Kevin. Another newly launched product is the Kronings Ultra fully automatic satellite dish.

"We’ve been testing the dish for about 18 months and have just released it to market, so we’re taking orders now," says Kevin. The satellite system is fully automatic, lightweight at just 5kg, and simple to operate. At the push of a button, the satellite pops up and is ready to go, and upon starting the engine, it automatically retracts, so there is no need to remember to manually wind down your satellite dish.

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INVALUABLE EXPERIENCE

Kevin’s long history in the RV industry extends back to his school years where he took a job at a caravan accessory store. "I was 16 years old at the time, and at first, I was just cleaning caravans during the school holidays," Kevin explains. "It doesn’t sound very glamorous or exciting, but I’ll tell you what, it gave me a very good grounding to learn from. I learnt the nitty-gritty about caravan basics, and that gave me a really solid foundation to build my career on."

Kevin moved to New Zealand from the UK in 1997, prior to which he was the marketing manager for Bailey Caravans, the longest-established UK caravan manufacturer and number one caravan brand in the UK. Kevin spent more than nine years with Bailey Caravans, which has given him invaluable experience and credibility within the industry. After arriving in New Zealand, Kevin joined CI Munro Ltd as the general manager and has since held the same role at Camec and CV Compton, before purchasing RV & Marine Supplies in 2008.

With more than three decades in the industry, Kevin has seen huge changes in the industry and says the growth over recent years has been phenomenal. "Increasing numbers of homeowners are selling up and realising their dream of travelling around New Zealand by motorhome," he says.

"And why not? We’re very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world with plenty to see and do. I have fond memories of travelling by caravan in the UK with my parents as a youngster; it’s a fantastic experience for families."

Kevin says he plans to one day travel the west coast of America. "I’d love to travel from LA through San Francisco and up to Vancouver.

GOING BIG

With the business continuing to grow and more new products regularly being added to the shelves, RV & Marine Supplies has recently taken a lease on a second warehouse close to their Frankton-based store. "By the end of the financial year, we’re pretty certain RV & Marine Supplies will be the biggest RV trade distributor in New Zealand," says Kevin.

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