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Fri Feb 8, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Roadmaster Inc.’s quiet acquisition of fifth-wheel hitch supplier Comfort Ride Hitch last year brings the company into the towables arena. Roadmaster Vice President David Robinson says the company has kept the deal “mum” until it worked out all the wrinkles of incorporating Comfort Ride production into Roadmaster’s Vancouver, Wash., production line.
Robinson says Roadmaster acquired all the rights to manufacture, distribute, market and sell the Comfort Ride Fifth Wheel line, which had been produced in Stoughton, Wis. Rick Olson founded Comfort Ride about five years ago.
“Rick Olson did a fantastic job over the last few years in creating a product line and identifying a need in the market,” Robinson says. “Roadmaster is now in the fifth wheel business. It’s not a Chevrolet product, it is a high-end, top-of-the-line product that is not for the entry-level customer.”
Robinson says the fifth wheel hitches fit well into Roadmaster’s product line and are now being manufactured in Vancouver. The company absorbed the production, adding just three or four employees.
“We’ve been working through the transition, working out the bugs,” Robinson says. “We had to figure out what Comfort Ride was doing and how we could work into Roadmaster’s operation. We are in production now.”
To accommodate the new production, Robinson says Roadmaster built a mezzanine in its Vancouver, Wash., factory, which doubled floor space and allowed the company to create a towables division. Roadmaster previously focused on the motorhome business.
Olson says he grew the company beyond what he could produce in Wisconsin, and Roadmaster was an ideal company to take over production.
“Roadmaster called me a couple of years ago and we started working on a deal,” Olson says. “I’m going to continue working with them, setting up dealers and doing a lot of customer service. The only part of the company I won’t be involved with is production.”
Comfort Ride ceased production in Wisconsin about three months ago, Robinson says. Olson has been assisting with the transition, acting as a consultant, providing training and attending trade shows on Roadmaster’s behalf.
“He [Olson] has been invaluable as an advisor and he is still actively involved,” Robinson says. “He worked the Florida SuperShow in Tampa for us and he is still helping bring us up to speed. It’s been a good fit for us. He was out there to provide a high-quality, effective product.”
Robinson says Roadmaster is still learning the players in the fifth wheel sector and is seeking to align with dealers specializing in high-end, heavyweight fifth wheels.