Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Sportsmobile featured in Van Life magazine

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019

Source: Van Life Magazine

Sportsmobile North, Huntington, were featured in the December 2019 edition of Van Life magazine. Below is an excerpt of what was written in the article.

Jim Friermood, vice president of the company remembers when he first started his job at Sportsmobile North, “I’ve been working here for 43 years now. When we started, it was basically just Volkswagen vans.”

Friermood recalls a time in the late 70s when dealerships made orders for custom travel vans. Friermood and others converted the vans out of an old McCormick Tractor Factory that was built in 1902.

“I called them the surfer vans or the hippie van,” Friermood said. “A lot of it was the fuzzy carpet back years ago. The porthole windows, the furry couches and all that type of stuff were big, and we shipped a lot of vans to California.”

Sometime during the 80s, Friermood said that there was a shift and the company started getting into the Class B motorhome market. Over time, the simple camper/vans got a little more sophisticated and personalized. “More and more, we got into special custom-made conversions,” Friermood said. “We now have to think cabinetry, toilets, stoves, beds and more. The list of options is long. Rumor has it that a dancing pole was even outfitted for a Sportsmobile customer’s van. Anything goes!”

Sportsmobile customers are seeking more when it comes to their van conversions. The new standard went from carpet and fuzz to a sleek easy-to-clean finish.

“What’s popular now is the rubber flooring and the cabinets are solid plywood with a veneer finish, everything is upgraded so much,” Friermood said.

Friermood continued, “The demand for electricity has increased significantly. Generators, bigger inverters, auxiliary batteries and solar panels are allowing customers to go off-grid for longer periods of time, and live more comfortably while off the grid. It’s not primitive anymore, it’s luxury.”

“The cost of a van and Sportsmobile conversion can easily exceed $100,000,” said Friermood. “For the price, Sportsmobile North will pick customers up from the airport, pay their motel bill for the night and treat them to lunch at Pizza Junction, across the street for their business. The customer gets a three-hour walkthrough of all the van’s features. They just can’t believe all this stuff fits into this plan old, bare metal van,” Friermood explained about his customers.

Sportsmobile North is located at 250 Court Street, Huntington. They can be reached by calling (260) 356-5435, or on the web at http://www.sportsmobile.com