Thu May 16, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
SylvanSport moved into its new 60,000-square-foot factory in Brevard, N.C. in January, beginning what is turning out to be a year of milestones for the company. The company’s new lightweight camper, the VAST, revealed at RVX, continues to draw raves and it has high expectations for its new line of camping gear.
“The VAST was designed from scratch and has fantastic features,” says founder and CEO Tom Dempsey. “It provides a nice quality, simple experience and allows users to bring a lot of toys with them. We have also launched a whole line of camping gear including a camp kitchen and a really luxurious sleep system. We truly have the intersection of outdoor gear and RVs brewing here. It’s pretty neat.
SylvanSport’s factory, built with the assistance of local economic development agencies and a state grant, is designed to minimize energy costs and improve manufacturing efficiency.
“We designed it ourselves from scratch and it meets our needs perfectly,” Dempsey says. “It is very energy efficient and it has efficient sensor-controlled LED lighting throughout and a large amount of windows.”
“I have always loved Brevard because it is one of North America’s most special places,” Dempsey says. “It has a great blend of mountain tourist history with a great manufacturing history. There is a great family culture. Arts, recreation and music all blend here. It’s a small town and a lovely climate.”
Dempsey says the setting around Brevard is a “fantastic” area to test SylvanSport’s products. Nearby are rugged U.S. Forest Service roads, 6,000-foot peaks and more than 300 waterfalls. SylvanSport’s home base of Transylvania County is one of the rainiest counties in the U.S—with 120 inches of rain in 2018—offering the company opportunities to weather test its products.
Having just launched the VAST at RVX in March, along with a new line of camping gear, Dempsey says his staff has its hands full for the moment, but plans are in the works to expand both lines.
“We are excited about the VAST and things are going just as we had hoped,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of positive reactions from dealers and also the outdoor gear enthusiasts and the Van Life movement. We will be going deeper into both categories.”
SylvanSport has steadily built its dealer network, which now numbers about 60. Dempsey says he hopes to had a few more.
SylvanSport plans to exhibit at next month’s Outdoor Retailer show in Denver with what Dempsey describes as a “pretty sizeable” booth. Dempsey is also considering exhibiting at the RV Dealers Convention & Expo in Las Vegas in November. In between, SylvanSport will be at the Elkhart Open House.
“Every day is a lot of fun here,” Dempsey says. “We are a unique, fun company to be a part of and we have a spectacular team. I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world.”