Brawley’s RV is adding its name to a growing list of vehicle dealerships going out of business in California’s Central Valley.
The sales center in Modesto has slashed its prices 30% to 60%, according to the Modesto Bee. Manager Steve Jessup said he also will consider customers’ offers on RVs in an attempt to move Brawley’s inventory by Jan. 4.
“We’re going to liquidate as much as we can before selling to other dealers and at auction,” said Jessup.
Brawley’s joins five car dealerships in the area that will close their doors over the coming weeks along with a Dan Gamel RV Center outlet in Salida.
Even as Jessup read about other dealerships and businesses closing, he remained hopeful and avoided comparisons.
“I don’t see us as just another RV place. This place is special. The people who work here are special,” he said. “There are people that are going to have to find jobs, and I had something to do with it.”
Brawley’s staff has been whittled down along with its business. Last year, the sales center employed 22 people. Now, it’s down to five people. Sales this year were half of what they were in 2007, Jessup said.
“I would see the profit-loss statements every month. I kept cutting costs, but we still weren’t making profit,” Jessup said. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to keep our heads above water. It’s not just the economy that’s killing us, it’s workers comp and all of the other regulations that add to the cost of doing business.”
Dave Tenney, general manager of Manteca Trailer & Camper Inc., shares that view. “The government is eroding us. Our insurance has gone higher and higher,” he said.
Tenney attributes Manteca Trailer & Camper’s success to its service and parts center. While sales have fallen about 35% since over the past three years, the service department’s business has doubled. People are trying to extend their vehicles’ lives to avoid replacing them, Tenney said.