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Old 12-11-2018, 09:50 PM   #141
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Thanks for chiming in Reace. It's good to hear that KV seems dedicated to producing the same quality we've come to expect from you and Tammy. As for getting out from behind a desk, congrats! I also prefer the hands on instead of all the paperwork.

Best wishes for your continued success.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:52 PM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reace View Post
Well, here goes….

I can’t tell you how many times we have said “We don’t want to expand” however, in some ways, we look at the business like a mudslide. If you stand still, it will swallow you up, so we keep trying to stay ahead of it…by growing to meet the demand.

Over the past few years, we have had many companies express an interest in Escape however, none with a future plan that interested us. Having a good working relationship with Northern Lite, I received a call from the owner with news that they had sold to KV and they had expressed interest in Escape. After a year of many conversations with KV and seeing how they were working with Northern Lite, we were very excited to work with them.

KV is not your typical investment company that many of you are alluding to. They truly believe in the companies they invest in and are also genuinely interested in the products they manufacture. The goal is not to change what Escape has built, but to make it stronger by collaborating with other manufacturers in our sector in a way that we couldn’t. Why change something that is working well? I saw someone mention that they will probably cancel the rally. Why? It’s a great event that brings many of our customers together and helps to build brand loyalty. My understanding is they plan to attend! Who knows, maybe Northern Lite will start a Customer Appreciation Rally!

Tammy and I have recognized that Escape has so much more to offer, and we don’t know how to get it there. This is where KV has come in to help. This will not only propel the company forward, but it will be the start of us getting a life back. There are a few key roles being added to Tammy’s team at the top end of the business. She is hoping to soon drop down to a shorter work week, but keep mainly focused helping oversee the trailer sales.

For me, I am happiest when I am on the production floor studying and refining our manufacturing processes. I love it! I am fortunate to have a couple of key people join my team which has allowed me to get away from the desk and be where I am most valuable. This is retirement to me!

What’s next? Can’t say for sure, but for our customers, Escape is only getting stronger.

Reace and Tammy
Thanks for filling us in. You more or less confirmed what I was thinking. All the best with the new company structure, it should be a winner for all.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:57 PM   #143
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Hi: reace... THANKYOU!!! Both you and Tammy have earned some rest. Well deserved and well done.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year... and all the best that the future brings.
Alf & Mary Anne
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:31 PM   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reace View Post
Well, here goes….

I can’t tell you how many times we have said “We don’t want to expand” however, in some ways, we look at the business like a mudslide. If you stand still, it will swallow you up, so we keep trying to stay ahead of it…by growing to meet the demand.

Over the past few years, we have had many companies express an interest in Escape however, none with a future plan that interested us. Having a good working relationship with Northern Lite, I received a call from the owner with news that they had sold to KV and they had expressed interest in Escape. After a year of many conversations with KV and seeing how they were working with Northern Lite, we were very excited to work with them.

KV is not your typical investment company that many of you are alluding to. They truly believe in the companies they invest in and are also genuinely interested in the products they manufacture. The goal is not to change what Escape has built, but to make it stronger by collaborating with other manufacturers in our sector in a way that we couldn’t. Why change something that is working well? I saw someone mention that they will probably cancel the rally. Why? It’s a great event that brings many of our customers together and helps to build brand loyalty. My understanding is they plan to attend! Who knows, maybe Northern Lite will start a Customer Appreciation Rally!

Tammy and I have recognized that Escape has so much more to offer, and we don’t know how to get it there. This is where KV has come in to help. This will not only propel the company forward, but it will be the start of us getting a life back. There are a few key roles being added to Tammy’s team at the top end of the business. She is hoping to soon drop down to a shorter work week, but keep mainly focused helping oversee the trailer sales.

For me, I am happiest when I am on the production floor studying and refining our manufacturing processes. I love it! I am fortunate to have a couple of key people join my team which has allowed me to get away from the desk and be where I am most valuable. This is retirement to me!

What’s next? Can’t say for sure, but for our customers, Escape is only getting stronger.

Reace and Tammy
Reace and Tammy,
We hope to meet you in August when we pick up our Escape 19!
Thanks for caring enough to enlighten us all. Linda is a gem and has been helping us plan and plot our way towards our ideal Escape. We are all invested in your successfully maintaining the great community, customer service and quality product as you grow. It is what attracted us to purchase a trailer from you in the 1st place.
Keep on getting better.
With great anticipation and enthusiasm,
Bern and Ruth
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:44 PM   #145
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Reace:

Thanks for the info. To get a little more time off and to get to do what you most enjoy will be a blessing! I appreciate you and wish you, Tammy, and ETI all of the best in the future.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:04 AM   #146
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Reace and Tammy, glad you two chimed in.
Glad you two move ahead with your customers in mind! Which always has been your guys’s motto.
Wishing you two all the best with the upcoming changes!!
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:42 AM   #147
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This is why I felt confident buying a used Escape and look forward to the day I get to meet Reace and Tammy.
Here is what I'm sure of, VERY FEW people (I want to say zero but know there has to be at least one more ) in their position would care enough to respond at all to a thread on a forum.
I think the future for Escape is like I see my camping future, bright and full of adventure .

Happy and Safe Holidays to all.

Steve
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:20 AM   #148
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KV's philosophy sounds a lot like Warren Buffet's - buy into successful businesses that are well run, provide financial support, make sure the founders stick around to continue running the company and doing all the things that made it so successful.

Very happy for Reace and Tammy, this sounds like a win-win for everyone.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:20 AM   #149
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Be interesting to revisit this in 5-10 years.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:05 AM   #150
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Thanks for your openness Reace & Tammy. All the best on the new partnership!
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:10 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by stratos175 View Post
This is why I felt confident buying a used Escape and look forward to the day I get to meet Reace and Tammy.
Here is what I'm sure of, VERY FEW people (I want to say zero but know there has to be at least one more ) in their position would care enough to respond at all to a thread on a forum.
I think the future for Escape is like I see my camping future, bright and full of adventure .
Well said. My confidence is restored with Reace's response and I'm embarrassed it even waned slightly. When I called about buying a cot for the front of the 19 in 2016 I'll never forget Reace calling me back personally to make sure I was ok cutting the poles to fit myself or measuring so he could cut them before shipping. I remember saying on the phone, "Reace, like Reace the owner?" He also sent pictures to guide me through my bath window install. Tammy and others have always gotten back to me promptly about parts requests or wacky questions like insulating the hollow door with foam balls. I expect this stellar customer service to remain or even improve if that is possible.

I'm excited to think of what this investment will allow Escape to do in the future and that Reace and Tammy will have more time for some of their own adventures and coming back refreshed to continue to do what they love.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:35 AM   #152
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Agree Tammy and Reace need time for themselves and greatly deserve it but how open will the new partner be to all the special requests on builds that we now enjoy when we order our home away from home. That is my main concern
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:58 AM   #153
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Agree Tammy and Reace need time for themselves and greatly deserve it but how open will the new partner be to all the special requests on builds that we now enjoy when we order our home away from home. That is my main concern
It sounds like KV is well aware of what attracts customers to the Escape brand. KV wants to keep those customers and would be smart to continue what is working well. Even with the rejection of some requests recently Escape is still well ahead of other manufacturers in what they will do for a buyer.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:06 AM   #154
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but how open will the new partner be to all the special requests on builds that we now enjoy when we order our home away from home.
Could be that we'll no longer receive e-mails after "hours." I've received e-mails from Tammy at 10:30 at night! And perhaps no more 'weekend' phone calls. It really depends on how the customer service evolves. I just hope Tammy gets to spend more time riding her horse and Reace can get out on his ATV a whole lot more often. They both deserve much happiness with this change.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:09 AM   #155
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Thanks for your post, Reace! It's good to get information directly from the horse's mouth and it restores my faith in Escape. It will be interesting to see what stays the same and what changes, going forward.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:22 AM   #156
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I see a couple comments about renewed confidence, yet I saw nothing that gave reason for a lack thereof, other that a lot of speculation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Could be that we'll no longer receive e-mails after "hours." I've received e-mails from Tammy at 10:30 at night! And perhaps no more 'weekend' phone calls. It really depends on how the customer service evolves. I just hope Tammy gets to spend more time riding her horse and Reace can get out on his ATV a whole lot more often. They both deserve much happiness with this change.
I thought that was the only time that those two sent out emails, after hours.

I know as a (smaller) business owner how hard it was to get time for myself, the only thing missing from owning my own company. I either had to grow and bring on someone to run the front end of things, or back off on the amount of work that was coming my way. I chose the latter, and things got easier. Still was tough to get an extended holiday. Up until earlier this year 2 1/2 weeks was the longest I ever got. I am hoping now that Reace and Tammy get more time to enjoy themselves with less pressure on running all aspects of the company.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:47 AM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I see a couple comments about renewed confidence, yet I saw nothing that gave reason for a lack thereof, other that a lot of speculation.
I agree, there's a lot of things in the world that worry me, but this wasn't one of them.

Ron
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:54 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Hilola View Post
The bottom line is that either the (profit) pie now has to be cut into smaller pieces so Tammy and Reace must accept a smaller share so the investors can get theirs; or, the pie must be enlarged which typically means price and/or production increases. It remains to be seen which way ETI goes.
You are mostly correct - except one hopes that more are manufactured efficiently enough that the profit aspect improves through volume and other measures without the company losing its quality and reputation. I expect that it would take a long time for Escape to lose what it has going for it - so I will remain optimistic. Air Streams are now crappy in comparison to where they were in the past. If Escape can keep the quality and actually move into the US to sell - there is a big price spread there to compete with Air Stream. AND most of us on the forum got our trailers... hee hee. Though I really wish them well and they either stayed really small and tried to keep the sales down -- or they move forward with thoughtful changes. I vote that they are smart enough and care enough to keep this going in the right direction for most of us in the coming decades. AND they won't exit soon!
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:01 PM   #159
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OH - I wrote my message before finding Reace's comments - which support my feelings even more -- so if you skipped past some of the remarks - go back and find Reace's long lovely response. I will forever be grateful for how hard they both work - we got our trailer earlier that we thought possible because Tammy was working on a holiday and answered my email! They need to have more time off and they are working to keep the high quality and the direction they have set.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:06 PM   #160
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Agree Tammy and Reace need time for themselves and greatly deserve it but how open will the new partner be to all the special requests on builds that we now enjoy when we order our home away from home. That is my main concern
Funny Story…

In 2005, we had moved to our new location on Ashwell Dr from the chicken barn on Mc Sween Rd and business was booming! We were now pumping out about 50 units per year. (now we build 40 units per month! Crazy!) I was able to move up from my 1989 F150 to a 1999 Mazda B4000. Life was good!

One particular day (I was probably grumpy as I probably had not had my morning coffee yet), I was asked by the office person about some customizing options a customer wanted installed. I remember stomping my feet and saying we don’t have time for custom options any more. She kindly pointed out the window at my recently purchased truck and reminded me that is was the customers that had paid for that truck and the custom options are what they like about Escape. “Ok, fine…” and here we are 13 years later.

Having said that, it is much harder now to incorporate custom options. We only have a few on the sales team to take the orders and our production staff only have 4 hours to complete their task before the line moves. The standard custom options will continue to be offered such as custom flooring, counter colors, etc. We need to install something, why not what you want. I have just recently had a meeting with the sales staff to help them streamline the order process with customers. If it something that can be easily installed after the trailer has been received, we are now saying no. Adding outlets or lights around the trailer…no problem. Installing 15 12V drops around the trailer…no. We can add a couple and you can jump off of them. Want to have an inline water filter installed? Aftermarket. Hopefully this makes sense. We want to build you a great trailer with the ability for you to ‘make it your own’, but we do need to draw the line somewhere.


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