Posts Tagged ‘“Trailer House Trauma’

The Future of Retail, Disney, ‘Trailer Trauma,’ and Manufactured Housing

January 14th, 2019 Comments off



Disney’s theme parks are part of a larger conglomerate. It includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following companies.



Disney management seems to believe that they can ignore the more than 22 million in the U.S., and millions more in Canada, who call a manufactured or modular home – their home. Instead, they are wrongfully calling such code-compliant structures ‘trailers.’ Click to download the full size infographic.



Put differently, consider Disney as one of those giants that are steadily building their moat, rather akin to Berkshire Hathaway.

Our publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has periodically said that you either define yourself, or others will define you – and if others are defining you – that may often be to your detriment.






We don’t believe in boycotts, for several reasons, including legal ones. But we do believe that information can prove to be powerful. Information can be accurate, misleading, mixed, or weaponized. Thus the rise of the term, across the political spectrum, of “fake news.



Disney and the Future of Retail

Some say retail is dead.  Some claim that manufactured housing independent retailers days are numbered too.  That may be true for some, but not for others.  Some will not accept the death or insult of their profession without a proper fight.

But in a battle against a giant, one must pace.  This #DisneySprings struggle – and the broader one it represents – is best understood as a marathon.

As a part of a conglomerate, Disney has access to some of the keenest minds in science, technology, marketing, and branding.

One can learn – and should – learn from anyone, but not necessarily what a given source thinks they are communicating.

The photos and videos are from Disney Springs. It’s open to the general public. It’s their freemium version of Disney’s theme parks.



Disney makes tons of money for themselves – and their retail partners – by attracting a crowd.



Don’t think that Retail is Dead. Disney Springs proves otherwise. Disney – as with any firm – arguably does some things well, others, but others – like this ‘trailer’ slur – badly. MHPros can learn from both, but should not emulate both.


Part of their strategy?  They hire talented performers, many who are hoping for that ‘break’ that will take them to the next level beyond where they currently hang out. The Disney stage or street performances are arguably a far better venue for many talents than a dark club that attracts people whose aim is to get drunk.

Manufactured housing professionals and investors have much to learn from Disney, for good and ill,” says Tony Kovach. “On all things, prudent professionals should approach it with a wheat and chaff mindset.  What’s the good?  What’s wrong?  What can we learn from this? What can be done about what’s wrong?

MHProNews verified that Disney have still kept their problematic signage in place. We’ve also learned that they have other modular offices on the same property, kept behind fences draped by a plastic material meant to hide them from public view. Interesting.

Neal Haney, one of the co-founders of NAMHCO – the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners – is the most recent to weigh in on the Disney controversy.  Neal – via NAMHCO’s Executive Director Susan Bretton – said this, below.



We will be forwarding this article to Disney management, and ask them again to correct the public slur and misinformation about factory-built homes and modular structures.



Few operations no better than Disney the subtle nuances of influencing the public. They’ve been notified, and they have formally responded. We’ve been told verbally and in writing that their management has discussed this vexing matter. So Disney can’t claim ignorance. There is a step-by-step, entirely lawful plan that is being implemented. Think of this Disney Springs issue as part of the broader Manufactured Housing Revolution.



See the related reports, linked immediately below as well as after the byline and notices further down this post for more details and information on how this matter has evolved.



You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.


In the Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL area where MHProNews is based, one estimate puts the population of manufactured and mobile home residents at every fourth person. Statewide, it is about 10 percent.  Nationally, over 6 percent.



Disney understands math. Industry pros must too. There is power that our industry has failed to exercise, due to years of failed leadership.

That is changing.


Food, Folks, Fantasy, Fun, and Flubs – Disney’s “Trailer” Slur Update


A Disney spokesperson that the Daily Business News has been communicating with declined to say to MHProNews if the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has weighed in, or not, on this #nettlesome issue.  But either way, it’s revealing that Berkshire Hathaway backed MHI has taken no public position on a matter that impacts the image of our industry, and the tens of millions of our home owners and residents.

Retail is not dead.  Here, we don’t just mean manufactured housing’s independent retailers, but also, retail stores and shopping centers. We won’t do a deep dive today, but merely note that Disney has demonstrated the art and science of becoming a destination. Thousands flock there daily. Manufactured housing has much to learn, good and ill, serious, smiley, and sobering, from Disney.

Our leadership team has several next steps in mind for Disney, until they correct this public misinformation and slur. Stay tuned.

But in the meantime, wheat and chaff.” Disney has good examples, and problematic ones. They have talented performers, and others who are less so.

Bryan Malpass below, and Nicholas Marks are two of those talents.  Malpass, below, has the voice.  Live, it is far better, but this gives you a clue.



Marks, if you watch the entire video, is one of the most amazing guitarists you will likely see.  Marks is the definition of performance art.



Will MHPros Accept the Fate of Sears?



There is nothing changed until it’s challenged.  When the industry is in apparent retreat, when MHI is doing – and not doing – what they do – battles must be fought.  Haney and NAMHCO – or MHARR, over the course of many years – plus others are among those fighting for what’s right.



Learn more about MHARR, at this link here.


There are a variety of legitimate ways to patiently win battles like this one with Disney’s arguably misguided management. It may take weeks, months, or longer.  But victory is assured only for those who enter the fray with a ‘never quit’ – pursue all avenues until success is obtained for a just cause – mindset.

This is all part of the manufactured housing industry’s wake up call.  MHI has apparently failed the industry again (see further below).

Disney is arguably insulting the factory-built housing industry, and its 22 million plus residents in the U.S., plus millions more in Canada. There is no need to call a boycott, because better ways are available. Stay tuned, or join in the fun of the fray. That’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)



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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

MHARR, ROC USA, Canadian Association Weigh-In On Disney “Trailers” Controversy


Former Manufactured Housing Institute President, Manufactured Home Owners, Urban Institute, and You

Disney Utilizes Inaccurate, Prejudicial Terminology “Trailer” Offensive to Factory-Builders, Homeowners





“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

April 7th, 2018 Comments off

A Redmond New Moon mobile home, which today would be part of Champion Homes. Still from the movie, “The Long, Long Trailer.” see clips of the video, below.



Perhaps no other industry which has a product that boasts 22 million daily users is as misunderstood as the Manufactured Housing Industry in 21st Century America.


Darren Krolewski, MHV.

At the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, Darren Krolewski exemplified the problem, when he told attendees that they can ask some adult about a “manufactured home,” and they often have “no clue what that means.”

Krolewski is not alone in that experience.

Part of that misunderstanding can be captured in the irony – the tragedies – illuminated in the routine misuse by media or others of the words, “trailer house,” and “trailer park.”

For millions, those words are synonymous with “trailer trash.” Not many want to be thought of as trailer trash, one of the last acceptable put-downs of the 21st Century. After interviewing many, often on video, it is clearly an emotional trauma for them.

When tens of millions of potential buyers don’t understand the manufactured home product, of course it’s acceptance as a mainstream form of housing is compromised.

There are opportunities that can arise from that understanding. But to tap them, one must take a fresh look, and begin by clearly grasping the cause before the cure can be understood, or applied.

MHVille’s “Trailer House Trauma” is not the only explanation why so relatively few manufactured homes are being sold today, but it is one of them.


Lucy and Desi – Flashback to When a Trailer House Was Classy and Cool

If you’ve ever watched the Lucy and Desi comedy movie, “The Long, Long Trailer” then you realize that when you flashback in time to the early 1950s when that film was produced, it was often upscale people who bought a mobile home or ‘trailer house.’



The reason it was called a ‘trailer’ is because it could be pulled behind many a car, or pickup, as is often demonstrated in the movie.

Note in the chart below how high the sales levels of mobile homes were in the 1950s through the early 1970s?

Image and understanding aren’t everything, but they are a key part of acceptance.

So, “The Long, Long Trailer movie certainly didn’t hurt the sales of mobile homes.


Fast Forward to the 1990s.

Now, hop in your De Lorean, and flash-forward from the 1950s to the 1990s.

The manufactured housing industry was hitting its most recent peak. Several problematic challenges were in motion, including poorly underwritten manufactured home chattel loans. 2 decades later, that’s another problem that still haunts the industry with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Wall Street.

But why?

There was a bigger bloodbath in conventional housing’s varied meltdowns, the most recent and memorable one being the bubble that burst in 2008. Conventional and other lending came back for mainstream homes, why not for manufactured homes?

Part of the reason the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing, rural, and undeserved markets was passed by Congress in 2008 was precisely the “poor paper” image that manufactured home chattel loans unfairly represented. Some independents in the industry realized that they needed Congress to act, to force federally chartered Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) lenders to support America’s most unsubsidized form of affordable home ownership.

After all, isn’t it discriminatory to robustly support mainstream housing, and not give equal opportunity for supporting manufactured homes?

But another issue for manufactured housing in the 1990s was the brewing “image issue.”

It was exacerbated when President Bill Clinton’s advisor James Carville, as a red herring on that administration’s simmering sex scandals, quipped “Drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you will find.”

“Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville, Clinton Strategist

That comment by Carville went viral.

It’s haunted the industry ever since. In hindsight, one might ask, why didn’t the industry respond?

Carville’s calculated comment was a clearly bigoted, prejudicial statement that targeted the millions of Americans living in pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-code manufactured homes (MH) — and by extension — the industry that serves them.  Not addressing the slander was arguably a mistake.

In the 1990s, the RV Industry – which began to separate from the MH industry during the mobile home (MH) era – launched and sustained since then their “Go RVing” image campaign. The manufactured housing (MH) tested marketing campaigns at times and regions, like ones done in California, or the Pacific Northwest. But those efforts were not sustained. Nor was there ever a coordinated, national MH campaign in the days when the industry’s producers were flush with cash.

So, the RV production chart reflects the fact that towable and motorized recreational vehicles (RVs) outsell manufactured homes today by more than 5 to 1. Yet RVs cost far more per square foot than even the higher priced manufactured homes. RVs are for most a luxury item, with many RVs not necessarily used for full-time living.  To rephrase, the Go RVing campaign has worked.

But that doesn’t imply that the same would work for manufactured housing.  That said, doing nothing is also not acceptable.



RVs are but one reminder than manufactured housing (MH) is nowhere near its potential.



Me Too?” Cures and Opportunities Begin with Understanding


The above is a collage of some images from Ken Corbin’s presentation at the manufactured housing industry’s 5 State Event in Deadwood, SD. There’s been over 10,000 retailers lost since the 1990s, said Corbin. That’s “the 10,000 drop.” Graphic by Corbin used with permission.

Former Clayton manager and retailer, Ken Corbin told MH professionals in Tunica, “don’t be a me too” seller in the manufactured home industry. To be more successful than others, one must stand out from the crowd.

Ken’s correct on not being a “me too” point — if greater success is the goal — then Ken’s point is true.

But more than that, one must first understand the causes of what’s kept manufactured housing rising since 2009, but still at historically low levels. It’s common sense that the cure comes after a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

This article looks at measurable data points and troubling facts that almost no one in the industry today mentions, much less addresses.

The “Trailer House Trauma” is far from the only challenge, but it is a real one.  Those willing to stand out from the pack are those who are willing to do the research or hire the talent needed to gain a similar understanding that successful investors like Warren Buffett have routinely done.

Give the man his due, Buffett does his home work.  He says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day.

What’s Next?

This is part one of a periodic series on the true state of the manufactured housing industry after the first quarter of 2018.

Some related data points and reports are found linked after the Related Reports header, further below.


Trailers could be pulled by a properly equipped car or pickup truck. Mobile homes became heavier, wider, and long enough to require special equipment and a trained driver. Manufactured housing is routinely far heavier still, wider, and moving them properly takes heavy equipment and a skilled driver.

As a closing note for today, while being “misunderstood” and the “Trailer House Trauma” is a problem, but it’s also an opportunity in disguise for potentially hundreds of industry companies of all sizes.

Manufacturers, retailers, communities, lenders, vendors and other service providers are all able to benefit from the proper localized, targeted marketing and customer engagement approaches.  Those methods must be based upon reality, as opposed to wishful thinking.  They must be sustainable, or else they will fail.

Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes are needed every year in the U.S. What other sector of the multi-trillion-dollar housing industry has so much upside potential?  Can you name any?

“Starting” Dip in Home Sales, New Crisis Says Housing Experts


RV and National Association of Realtors (NAR) data are clear indicators that with the proper capital, planning, team, motivation, and execution, manufactured housing industry professionals can turn their own image around on a localized basis.  RV dealers and real estate firms invest in their success.  Half a million RVs in 2017, plus over 5 million resale housing units for the NAR in 2017 are proof that it pays off.



Sadly, very few understand the connection between understanding the challenges, which can then lead to profitable solutions.  But that too is an opportunity in disguise, for those who reject being another ‘me too,’ and embrace the notion that success requires thoughtful change.

Case studies our consulting operation has done with those who put in the effort and resources have seen solid, positive results. To learn more, note the second related report, linked below. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines)

Related Reports:

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

Understand, Plan, and Execute – Monday Morning Sales Meeting


Consulting, Marketing, Video, Recruiting, and Training Resources



By L.A. “Tony” Kovach to the Daily Business News for

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

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