The Boman Fine Arts Center Grand Opening

Members of the Lichtsinn RV team were in attendance at the Boman Fine Arts Center Grand Opening held on Monday, October 15th. Lichtsinn RV is a Diamond Sponsor of the Boman Fine Arts Center.

Lichtsinn RV Diamond Sponsor of Boman Fine Arts Center
Pictured left to right: Hope Lichtsinn, Owner; Ron Lichtsinn, Owner; Bob Alsop, President Waldorf University; Darwin Lehman, Forest City School District Superintendent; and Heidi Thompson, Lichtsinn RV Vice President and General Manager.

The center can host weddings, special occasions, theatrical performances, art displays, speaking engagements and regional/national touring groups. The center includes a 630-seat theater with an orchestra pit, green room, dressing rooms, staging and set production area, full fly area and rigging, along with state of the art electronics, lighting and audio visual equipment.

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Bowman Fine Arts Center in Forest City, Iowa. Photo courtesy of KIOW.

“With this facility, the (Waldorf) choir, band, and theater will have a space to perform that reflects the history and quality of these ensembles,” Waldorf President Bob Alsop said.

He also said Waldorf hosts “amazing artists and speakers” throughout the academic year in addition to its own performance ensembles.

“I believe the community, who has always been welcomed at the events, will feel more encouraged to participate in these opportunities with this facility,” Alsop said.

Forest City Superintendent Darwin Lehmann said the fine arts center will give students a suitable performance venue to showcase their talents. He said school concerts that have been held in gyms and cafeterias now can take place in a first-class auditorium. “What a way to enhance the experience” — not just for the students, but also the parents who come to watch, Lehmann said. He also said the new facility benefits the entire community, not just K-12 and Waldorf students. Forest City’s BrickStreet Theatre plans to hold its musical productions at the Boman Center, starting with “A Christmas Carol” in December. In addition to the auditorium, the complex features a main floor lobby and art gallery with seating for up to 120 people and an overall capacity of 250.

The upper level mezzanine has seating for 200 people with an overall capacity of 325, and features large glass windows with a view of the surrounding community.The grounds feature a 6,000 square-foot plaza, green space totaling 32,000 square feet, sidewalks and a parking lot.

“We will have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility for Waldorf, the school and the public to use for years to come,” said City Administrator Barb Smith. “It’s going to be gorgeous.”

Article originally published on Globe Gazette

Iowa Ranked Best State in America!

USA TODAY— U.S. News & World Report ranked Iowa No. 1 in the country in its Best States rankings released Tuesday, which evaluates all 50 states across a range of criteria. This is the second year U.S. News has ranked states.

According to this year’s report, the rankings show how each of the 50 U.S. states perform in 77 metrics across eight categories. Those categories include health care, education, economy, infrastructure, crime and fiscal stability, among others.

Results from the eight categories were based on the average of two years’ worth of data from an annual McKinsey & Company survey that asked more than 30,000 people nationwide to prioritize each subject in their state.

These states made up the top 10:

1. Iowa
2. Minnesota
3. Utah
4. North Dakota
5. New Hampshire
6. Washington
7. Nebraska
8. Massachusetts
9. Vermont
10. Colorado

These states made up the bottom 10:

41. Kentucky
42. South Carolina
43. Oklahoma
44. Alaska
45. Arkansas
46. Alabama
47. West Virginia
48. New Mexico
49. Mississippi
50. Louisiana

More: These are the 10 hardest-working cities in the U.S.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds joined “CBS This Morning” in studio with Brian Kelly, chief content officer of U.S. News, shortly after the rankings debuted Tuesday, where she discussed the rankings and current events.

Reynolds said her biggest challenge as governor is improving Iowans’ overall quality of life as it relates to job growth and paths to success.

“I think if we have a talent pipeline ready to meet the needs and we’re providing opportunities for Iowans in our state to really have a great quality of life, that’s how we’re going to succeed and continue to stay on top.”

Broadband consultant David Daack of Connected Nation, which does business in Iowa as Connect Iowa, told U.S. News that the state’s top ranking in infrastructure and the broadband access metric within came as a “pleasant surprise.”

“When people think of Iowa, they usually think of agricultural places that won’t necessarily need to be connected,” Daack said. “But given the big data needs of agriculture today and in the future, those areas are going to need to be every bit as connected as the urban areas.

“… You could almost argue that maybe we should go (to the farms) first and work our way back into the cities.”

Here’s how Iowa ranked in each category:

  • Infrastructure: 1st
  • Health care: 3rd
  • Opportunity: 4th
  • Education: 5th
  • Quality of life: 9th
  • Crime: 15th
  • Economy: 17th
  • Fiscal stability: 21st

Read the full report from U.S. News.

Lichtsinn RV is America’s closest RV dealer to Winnebago and Winnebago Touring Coach Factory, located just one mile north of the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa. Winnebago Industries has named Lichtsinn RV the Top North American Winnebago Dealer for the past 3 consecutive years. We also have the #1 Winnebago Parts Department in the Country, shipping parts throughout the United States and Canada.

Lichtsinn RV Featured in June Edition of RV Pro Magazine

Lichtsinn RV was featured in the June 2017 Edition of RV Pro Magazine. RV PRO is the leading news and information source for professionals in the RV Industry.

 

RV Pro Cover

The owners of Lichtsinn RV didn’t have to look far to find the ideal inventory for the dealership’s customers.

Located only 1 mile from the Winnebago plant in Forest City, Iowa, Lichtsinn RV since 2005 has exclusively retailed new Winnebago motorhomes.

It didn’t always used to be that way, however. Between 2002 and 2005, Lichtsinn carried a few different Keystone and Forest River towable brands.

“We were trying to focus more on our local market,” com­pany President Ron Lichtsinn explains. “A lot of the workforce in Forest City can’t align their budget with a motorcoach, but we realized our passion was for the motorized segment of the RV industry.”

Proximity to Winnebago is a benefit, but it wasn’t the only reason the dealership chose to exclusively retail the RV maker’s motorized products, according to Lichtsinn. Brand recognition and an acknowledgement that segments of the motorized market are performing well also played a factor, he says.

“We certainly align ourselves with what we believe to be the highest quality motorized RV manufacturer. Winnebago con­sistently ranks No. 1 in RVDA DSI quality industry indices,” Lichtsinn says. “We learned between 2008 and 2010 – as we slipped in and out of recession – that it’s a brand that follows emerging trends and demographics.”

Today, the dealership carries a full range of motorized prod­ucts, but B vans and fuel-efficient Class C models have come to represent a growing segment of the dealership’s inventory.

“We’re certainly going to stock more of Class B and C’s,” Lichtsinn says. “The stocking pattern of a Class B is a bit more streamlined and attracts a much larger audience.”

Adapting to Changing Times, Conditions

Adapting to changing conditions is not a new thing for Lichtsinn RV. Lichtsinn’s father started the dealership in 1976 as a Chevrolet Oldsmobile dealer, adding Winnebagos to his lot in the early 1980s. The automotive and RV operations were run out of the same facility.

In 2001, when GM discontinued the Oldsmobile line, Lichtsinn and his father switched the dealership to retailing Buicks. The dealership remained a full-line automotive dealer until 2015, when the dealership chose to focus exclusively on retailing RVs.

Transition also has occurred in terms of the dealership’s own­ership. Ron Lichtsinn was raised in the business, but when he graduated from high school in 1989 he wanted to do something else with his life. As he gained some life experience, however, he began to change his mind.

Lichtsinn and his father began plans for succession in 2000, and in 2001 Lichtsinn took over the dealership, which sits on 20 acres and features a 30,000-square-foot sales and service center and a 7,000-square-foot parts and accessories store.

Today, Lichtsinn credits being adaptable to change – com­bined with the strategy of focusing on motorized sales and a strong emphasis on employee retention and education – with allowing the business to prosper over the years.

The Right Hires

Despite the fact that Iowa’s unemployment rate is nearly 2 percent lower than the national average, Lichtsinn says he has very little employee turnover at the dealership.

“It’s one of our strengths. We have great retention,” he says.

“We take an individual who has good problem-solving and interpersonal skills and bring them through professional develop­ment, teaching them to provide outstanding customer service.”

Longtime employee Heidi Thompson, vice president and general manager of Lichtsinn RV, began working at the deal­ership in 1994 for Lichtsinn’s father. After finishing college she remained at the dealership and worked in a variety of roles.

“We attribute our low turnover rates to hiring correctly in the first place. We are looking for an employee and team member who has the soft skills that are hard to train, such as work ethic, guest service and communication,” Thompson says. “For us, we spend a lot of time on the front side making sure we’re partnering up with the right person to ensure retention. We then provide continual training and professional develop­ment opportunities that help them grow in their career and create engagement.”

Having engaged and trained employees helps with sales and service. Each employee is developed to help a guest regardless of what coach they are interested in. Any consultant can help any guest with any kind of product.

Employee Training is Key

At Lichtsinn RV, employee education is paramount.

“Education is what we hang our hat on,” Thompson says. “We want to help RVers achieve the type of RVing and traveling they dream of. It’s important to us within the purchase process to have educated consultants help customers achieve the right RV and their goals.”

At Lichtsinn RV, a sales consultant is assigned to help educate a guest throughout the entire purchasing process.

Having begun as an automotive dealership, Thompson says dealership leaders know the time frame for an RV purchase – especially a motorhome – can take much longer than an auto­motive purchase.

“We know the buying cycle takes longer within the RV industry. We have a first contact and try to do a lot of work through the selec­tion cycle of a guest because we don’t want them to come back to us and say, ‘We bought the wrong floorplan,’” she says. “We put a lot of emphasis on that. We want to help them see how they are going to use the RV. We can work with a guest anywhere from a couple of months or a couple of years. It’s unique in that you build rela­tionships with people and get to know their story and background.”

Overcoming Fear with Education

Lichtsinn says sales consultants have a dedicated approach to support growth and help customers overcome any fears they may have about purchasing a motorcoach.

“We’ve found there are a few main fears of customers: Pur­chasing the wrong product, paying too much, education, and a fear of what happens next,” he says.

Lichtsinn RV has developed its Internet and in-person consumer education to such a level that the only time sales consultants are not able to help a guest in terms of the motorized segment is when a product is not in the customer’s budget range or it’s a product Winnebago doesn’t offer.

Being so near the Winnebago factory comes with its advantages and disadvantages Lichtsinn says. While inventory experiences very little wear and tear making the 1-mile trip from the factory to the dealership lot, Lichtsinn says it can be a disadvantage when attempting to reach the business’s far-flung customer base.

With the bulk of the dealership’s customer base coming from out of state, Lichtsinn and Thompson say the dealership must make sure value exceeds cost to get guests to leave their hometown and travel to Forest City for their purchase.

“What is validated in our reviews is the experience a guest will have leading up to their purchase,” Lichtsinn says. “While here, they will receive an educational orientation with certi­fied RVDA technicians and we follow up remotely. We offer a product that is nomadic and we have to express that long reach of service and education outside of break-in procedure.”

A Strong Focus on Service

On the service side, Lichtsinn RV has eight service bays and six full time RVDA-certified technicians. The dealership’s proximity to Winnebago helps it procure parts more quickly and the dealership also can outsource its paintwork to a Win­nebago paint plant resource in town.

Looking at the dealership’s service schedule on any given day, there will be guests from all over the country.

“It’s not abnormal for our guests to take advantage of our service experience,” Lichtsinn says. “We absolutely welcome guests who didn’t purchase from us. We don’t discriminate based on where someone purchased their coach; we service them regardless. It’s an opportunity to display our professional level of service and provides a chance for us to win them over as a guest.

“The advantage from a service perspective is our expertise,” he adds. “We help remotely by trouble shooting and expediting parts. In some cases, service advisors become a technician hotline for those who need help. We have people perceive us to be the factory based on our expertise.”

When it comes down to it, Lichtsinn and Thompson are in the business not simply to sell RVs – but to help promote the RV lifestyle.

“One of the most fun things about this job is that the purchase of an RV is tied to some sense of freedom. Whether a customer is retiring or they are close they have the freedom to travel where they want,” Thompson says. “Likely we have worked with them a long time, crossing from planning and dreaming to moving into reality. It’s exciting to be a part of that.

Article Credit: Darian Armor, RV Pro Magazine

To see the full article click on this link:    RV Pro June 2017 Edition