SUFFOLK, Va. - Just like so many other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic started out shaky for Featherlite Coaches.
Last spring, the luxury motorhome builder powered through sagging sales. Then summer hit, and things changed in a big way.
"It's just gained momentum. We're about to wrap up the best first quarter we've ever had in the history of the business," said Jimmy Adams, President of Featherlite.
For a company that's been around since the 1990s, it means a lot, especially when you consider the price point of the vehicles it's selling.
"You're talking about some of the new ones are over $2 million," said Adams. "It's kind of like a land yacht."
Complete with large TVs hidden in the ceiling, hand-laid tile and massive living spaces... and the market is booming.
Just as RV sales have soared around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, the same is happening at Featherlite.
Travel restrictions have forced families who would normally take an overseas trip to look closer to home. Adams tells News 3 customers from across the country are taking interest in Featherlite products and snatching them up quickly.
"We had, for instance, Silicon Valley people coming, flying in and taking a coach they really bought over the Internet with us," said Adams. "It's an only-in-America thing where you can take a motorhome, load up the kids or grandkids and go out and have amazing experiences."
And that's just the private side, he says.
Featherlite projects sales of business-use coaches to rise by the third quarter of this year.
It all amounts to a demand the company can barely keep up with at its current staffing levels, so it's hiring at all levels.
"We want people who want to do beautiful work, they're excited about that and they're motivated," said Adams. "Everything from entry level carpentry-type positions, plumbers, fabricators, cabinet builders or 'wood workers' as we call them, all the way up to the engineering side."
And he believes Hampton Roads is the perfect place to recruit that type of talent. It all goes back to yacht comparison.
"Yacht-quality luxury for the open road. It's an awesome tie-in for the Hampton Roads area and the maritime history here and the know-how that a lot of our population has from maritime and naval history," said Adams. "We have a tremendous opportunity to grow our business."
Click HERE for more information about the open positions at Featherlite Coaches.