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Shifting into a 650-metre square warehouse in north Auckland feels slightly surreal for a husband-and-wife team that used to hold stock in the garage at home. Alexia Santamaria investigates how our love for accessories is creating booming business.

Over the past three years, we’ve all had to adapt and change how we do things – so it’s always refreshing to hear of a business that has thrived under what have been some extremely challenging times. Rather than worrying about how their business is going to stay afloat, though, Apollo has had to work out how they are going to keep up with the insatiable demand for their RV related products as we rediscover the joys of vanlife in Aotearoa.

When the pandemic began, Duncan and Helen MacMillan took a risk, increasing their stock in the event of potential supply issues. That investment paid off as shipping and freight all suffered worldwide delays, just as demand for supply increased. This meant they were able to meet their customers’ demands, and resulted in steady growth for Apollo. The Whangaparaoa office was by now bursting at the seams, so the move to Silverdale has given the team much needed breathing space and room for the company to grow further. The new premises are closer to the motorway, making visiting with your motorhome more convenient. A hoist will soon be added to the workshop for installation and servicing of the Ma-Ve hydraulic levelling systems.

The MA-VE automatic hydraulic levelling kit

During overseas travel restrictions, Kiwis began to explore their own backyard and bought RVs in record numbers. Discovering this new way to holiday, Kiwis have realised it’s not like the campervanning of old; these days they can have all the comforts of home, such as TVs, wifi, sound systems, air fryers… the lot. The Avtex full HD Smart TV from Apollo has been designed specifically for the RV and marine market; not only can it deal with the movings and shakings of our less-than-perfect roads, but it comes with the ability to connect to all the streaming services you can get at home. No more reaching on the roof for the wayward aerial to hit exactly the right spot – just connect to the internet and away you go.

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It’s not just the accessories themselves that has seen Apollo being inundated with the demand for the latest accessories themselves; we now also need the battery power to run them all. Co owner Duncan sourced and developed the long-life Artemis Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. Lasting up to five times longer than standard AGM batteries, it’s been a game changer for many motorhomers. Duncan even took the product one step further, by designing a Bluetooth app, so people can check battery life right from their phone. This opens up a whole new off-grid life options, with the ability to stay connected while exploring – and reduces ‘battery anxiety’ significantly.


Artemis Lithium batteries are long-lasting and lightweight

 

Many RV owners are now replicating aspects of their home life in their holiday life and aren’t afraid to say that they want to bring that Nespresso machine with them because instant coffee won’t cut it, or that bringing the Xbox gives parents a bit of headspace for that 5pm GnT and nibbles.

“It’s so good to see people discovering who they are, and finding out what’s important to them when they travel,” says Duncan. The exponential rise of the e-bike has also caused another unexpected boom for Apollo. Heavier than regular bikes, solid cycle racks are needed that are up to the job. Many regular bike racks often have a weight limit of 30kg, and with e-bikes weighing up 25kg each, something stronger was needed. Duncan looked to Germany and discovered Eurocarry, a bike rack that lifts up to 60kg; perfect for the his ‘n’ hers on the back of the van.

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Electric-powered lifting racks makes the user experience much easier

 

But with hefty bikes comes some heavy lifting. After realising many struggled with getting their e-bike strapped on, they sourced e-bike lifts from a company in Belgium. “Customers just wheel the bike on to the rack, press a button and it lifts it into the travelling position. They are loving them,” says co-owner Helen.

A rewarding part of Apollo’s expansion has been finding new ways to keep people safe when travelling. As technology evolves there are more options to reduce any risks. Cameras that help you back large vehicles safely but also double as security, and monitors like the Safe-T-Alert LPG & Carbon Monoxide Gas Detector, which alert you immediately to gas leaks so you don’t risk anyone getting sick – or worse still an explosion. It’s not all about modern luxury, but also finding better ways to protect those we love.

For more information call our friendly Apollo team on 09 424 1427 or visit our website at apollotv.co.nz https://www.apollotv.co.nz/

 

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