b"SUPPLIER INSIGHTS nBY BEN QUIGGLEPilot Rock Working Through Busiest Period in 60-Plus YearsWith more than 60 years of expe-rience in the outdoor hospitality in-dustry,PilotRock,adivisionof Cherokee, Iowa-based R.J. Thomas Manufacturing Company Inc., is a namemanycampgroundowners probably recognize. Thecompanymanufacturesa varietyofproducts,including benches, fire rings, grills and much more. R.J. Thomas Manufacturing wasWehaveneverseenanything founded by R.J. and Doris Thomaslikethisbefore,Simonsenex-in 1959 after R.J., who served in theplained. Sometimes you wonder U.S. Naval Construction Battalionwhat is driving all of this interest, as a Machinists Mate, First Class,but it doesnt seem to be slowing followedhisdreamofopeningadown to much at all yet. business,accordingtoSteve Thomas,R.J.son,whocurrently runs the business.The companys first product was the Pulver Rooter, a device that R.J. invented to help farmers culti- Pilot Rock has remained busy throughout 2021 vateandplowcornandcottonwith grills, fire rings and park bencheslike this fields. CXB series park benchflying off the shelves.Today, the hot products flying off the shelf include tables, benches, grills, fire rings and trash contain- government agency customers whowould normally take us weeks to ers,accordingtoBobSimonsen,are now back in the market.get, but now it is taking us months. marketingmanageratthecom- The company is currently tryingWe have never seen a year like this pany. toaddressconsumerdemandbybefore. Pilot Rock This past year has been a crazyoffering products through variousBacklogsarestillindecentFire Ring Lockout Cover busyoneforus,henotedtointernet portals and through moreshape, according to Simonsen, withTheModelFLC/B-30lockout WoodallsCampgroundMagazineretaillocations,suchas Walmartfireringsandgrillstakingaboutcover is designed to fit most Pilot (WCM).Lastyear,whenthingsand Target. three weeks to ship and tables, de- Rock campfire rings with a 30-inch shut down across the country, ourSimonsennotedthatthecom- pendingsomewhatonmaterial,inside diameter. traditional commercial and govern- panyhashadtodealwithrisingaround four to six weeks. Featuring a steel cover, it slides mentagencycustomerskindofmaterial costs, especially when itWehaventgottentoomuchonto the campfire ring and hooks to shut down, but our consumer andcomes to wood and steel. pushback from customers, they arethe underside of the flange around retail online sales just exploded, soPricesonmaterialshavejustaware of the situation, Simonsenthe top of the ring. One hook is pad-that kept us busy last year. That'sbeen going up, he explained. Thesaid. locked into place so the cover cannot stillholdingtrueintothisyear,hardest part for us is trying to keepHe told WCM that he agrees withbe removed, but you can take it off where we have more consumer andup and manage the supply chain is- the sentiment that the industry isntwhen it is safe for campers to burn retailcustomerscontactingus,sues we have had. We have had ma- going to be slowing down anytimeagain.alongwiththecommercialandterialshortagesonthingsthatsoon. The lockout is for use when a fire ban is in place or whenever a camp-ground owner wants to take some fire rings out of service. www.pilotrock.com 800-762-5002New Tables and Color Lines Recentlyanewcampground underconstructioncontactedR.J. Thomas Mfg. Co. for picnic tables they envisioned for its RV sites. Start-ing with the companys traditional square picnic tables it added new contour bench seats.The tabletop and seats are fabri-cated using perforated steel and fin-ished with a thermoplastic coating. The new colors include orange, yel-low and bright green, along with the already popular brown. These new Pilot Rock brand tables and colors are available to everyone. www.pilotrock.com 800-762-5002 WCM 12 November 2021Woodalls Campground Magazine"