Monday, April 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Airstream dealer sets up camp in Fairfield

5 airstream 1

Gary Gonsalves cleans an Airstream trailer on Friday at the new Bay Area Airstream dealership in Fairfield. The Bay Area Airstream dealership opens this weekend and offers every Airstream currently available. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

As we head into the summer travel season, local residents will have a chance to experience one option for travel: The luxurious Airstream line of travel trailers. Bay Area Airstream opened a dealership in Fairfield this week at 2400 Cordelia Road.

You may have seen the iconic rounded aluminum travel trailers along the highways.

Airstream was founded by Wally Byam in 1929, when the California entrepreneur purchased a Model T chassis and built a tent platform. Over time, his designs were so popular that Wally founded Airstream to produce a full line of travel trailers and motor homes. Airstream today manufactures its travel trailers in Jackson Center, Ohio, with regional distributors throughout the U.S., including, now, Fairfield.

Economic Notes spoke with Ted Davis, of Bay Area Airstream, about the new dealership in Fairfield.

EN: Tell us a little bit about the company and yourself and why you chose Fairfield.

Davis: The first Airstream Adventure Dealership opened in Portland, Ore., in 2010 at the bottom of the recession. We created a new dealership model that had not been tried before: selling and servicing only new Airstreams. We recognized that it was the perfect opportunity to enter the market with an iconic brand like Airstream and provide a sales and service experience equal to or greater than the brand’s image. Since then we have opened dealerships in Seattle, Boise, Idaho, and now Fairfield.

The foremost reason for choosing Fairfield is that we wanted to provide easy access to people heading out for their next adventure. Fairfield has great access to Interstate 80 and travelers heading to Tahoe, Shasta the Sierra, etc., what we refer to as the “gateway to adventure,” pass through Fairfield. We found Fairfield to be a very business-friendly city, willing to work hard to make our move as seamless as possible.

EN: Your facility includes more than 100,000 square feet of floor space and an outdoor yard. Airstream has quite a product line. Tell us about the travel trailers and if you have particular favorites.

Davis: This is the largest facility of our four dealerships. By having a fully enclosed inventory display, we will be able to really show off the various lifestyle uses of an Airstream in a setting unlike any dealer in the nation. The Airstream lineup is quite extensive with the following models: Our towable lineup includes the Sport, International CCD, International Serenity, Flying Cloud (with the new Bunk House Model), Eddie Bauer Edition, Sterling Edition and the Classic. We are also very excited about the new flagship Land Yacht coming this July. We also have the Airstream Interstate Class B motor home built on the Mercedes-Benz chassis. The Interstate has become the No. 1-selling B Van in the United States. It is geared more as a luxury touring coach for anything from day trips golfing or wine tasting or to take trips across the country.

EN: We understand that the sales will occur inside, in the showroom, and that service and accessories will be a big part of your business.

Davis: The Great Recession took a lot of good full-service RV dealers out of the market. We wanted to fill this void with what will most likely be the largest RV parts and service center in the Bay Area. We will offer complete RV service for all makes and models of RVs and motor homes along with a fully stocked parts department. Our location and size will also allow us to offer both premium indoor and outdoor storage. In addition, we will offer a “concierge service” where we will get your stored RV ready for use including pre-cooling the fridge and freezer, checking the propane tanks, checking the batteries and tire pressure, etc.

EN: Airstream uses a franchise territory model, so Bay Area Airstream will be a regional draw for sure. What area are you hoping to serve with the new dealership and how many employees will you have in Fairfield?

Davis: We are very fortunate that Airstream’s iconic image and draw will bring customers to us from around the country. Our primary focus will be the greater Bay Area. Our initial full-time staffing level will be about 15 employees and we anticipate this to grow to around 20 to 25 in the next 12 months.

Economic Notes would certainly like to welcome Bay Area Airstream to the community. The new Bay Area Airstream dealership certainly shows that Fairfield benefits from its location on regional transportation routes near recreational amenities.

Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or email at kdumas@fairfield.ca.gov or bkmiller@fairfield.ca.gov.

Brian Miller and Karl Dumas

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