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ReVolution Trailers revolutionizing the restoration of the RV industry

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A Winnipeg renovation company is leading the charge in the restoration of camper trailers, no matter what the age.

“Well, now I think I'm going to have one of the nicest trailers in the campground, I'm really, really excited,” said Gail Smith with excitement, a customer of ReVolution Trailers.

Smith and her husband had big plans to renovate their 1984 Avion Trailer. The challenge was finding someone local who could take on the tall task of renovating a 40-year-old trailer.

She discovered ReVolution Trailers through social media last fall and gave them a chance to make their dreams come true.

After choosing fabrics, colours, and an interior look she wanted, the restoration team quickly got to work.

“It was probably more exciting than renovating my house in a way,” Smith said.

“I left everything with them and it has been so easy, so smooth, even when it came to ordering things I got it delivered straight to them.”

The small team of five employees works at their shop on Springfield Road. ReVolution Trailers Project Manager Maegan Clerihew oversees the design process on every trailer, be it from 1984 or 1956.

She enjoys getting inspiration from TV renovation shows, Pinterest and social media, then looks to the customer for feedback.

“Well, we always say it’s like renovating a house but nothing like renovating a house at all,” Clerihew said.

“I love going and wandering through a thrift store or a home décor store and just see what’s coming up and then we have a lot of customers who have some really great visions as well and we work together and come up with an end result. The biggest compliment we can get is when somebody walks into one of our trailers and says this is nicer than my house.”

When ReVolution Trailers opened in 2019, the way the company acquired trailers was really different.

Back then, owner Stu Pynoo and Clerihew would often acquire trailers by salvaging them from farmers’ fields and other properties across Manitoba at the request of landowners.

Over time, they built a customer base and got the wheels rolling on ramping up the business.

“Slowly it's kind of changed a little bit now, people are actually calling us up and saying, 'Listen we've got this trailer, we don't want to throw it in the dump, can we just bring it to you?’ and we gladly accept them all,” Pynoo said.

“We’ve worked on tiny little Bolers 10 feet long, we’re standing in a 46-foot-long travel trailer, we’ve worked on Class A motor coach buses, we’ve worked on boats, we’re building custom trailers so we run the gamut of the RV industry.”

The travel trailer Pynoo is referring to is the largest job the company has ever taken on. A 1956 Spartan was brought to them from a woman in Dryden, Ontario who wished to have it rebuilt as a summer home.

“We got this and started from scratch,” Pynoo said.

“We had a shell and a frame that weren’t even attached and so we’ve done all the infrastructure work here, plumbing, heating, the waterworks, propane, insulation, everything from the ground up. It’s been challenging because of the shapes and sizes of these things.”

Coming from a background in home renovation, Pynoo started the business after his wife suggested their personal travel trailer needed some serious renovations. He says there is still a learning curve when working with trailers and sometimes a few surprises. Water damage is just one of the challenges the team faces each time they work on restoring a trailer from long ago.

Pynoo and Clerihew are looking forward to working on the restoration of a 1940s travel trailer they salvaged from a lot in Beaconia, Manitoba that was originally manufactured in Peterborough, Ontario by the name H.B. McGinnis.

Not much is known about the make of this trailer based on its age, other than the silver nameplate on the side of the unit. The two have been researching online trying to find more information about the original manufacturer.

“It’s very rare and we don’t know what it’s going to be worth,” Pynoo said.

“That’ll be one that we are going to build for a special client for sure.”

ReVolution Trailers have welcomed customers as far as Toronto and Oregon, in the United States. Pynoo figures they are one of the only games in town when it comes to travel trailer restoration in Canada.

“With the research we’ve done, there isn’t anybody doing it certainly on the scale that we’re doing it,” Pynoo said.

“We’ve really embraced it, Manitoba has got tens of thousands of campers, old ones and ones in use and so there’s a huge market there for us.”

'We’re somewhere in the neighbourhood of 350,000 to 400,000 pounds of RVs that don’t end up in the landfill'

Clerihew has appreciated the environmental efforts the company has made to keep as much of each individual trailer out of the scrapyard if parts can be saved.

“I figure we’re somewhere in the neighbourhood of 350,000 to 400,000 pounds of RVs that don’t end up in the landfill,” Clerihew said.

“When we get them in, anything that we can possibly recycle, fabrics, foam those kinds of things we can recycle that. Any metal, wiring, any of those things that we’re not going to use, parts that are usable, maybe not to us but to somebody else, we send them to auctions, we donate, we have garage sales.”

She said windows, doors, cabinet handles are always a focus of reusing and what ends up in the landfill is typically pieces of rotted wood that may have been used for flooring.

The team is also nearing completion of restoring a 1965 Triple E trailer of which there were only 65 made by the Triple E RV Company according to Pynoo.

Pynoo said only a limited number were made for each employee of the company so they could enjoy Expo 67, the world’s fair in Montreal.

“It was a lady who bought it off of a fellow, she was working on it and passed away from cancer,” Pynoo said.

“Her husband brought it here and he’s got us completely taking it back to original, which is a little different for us and also painting the outside. It’s a really cool story.”

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