Fraserway RV LP celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 24 with a grand opening and open house at its new state-of-the-art facility in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
From 12 acres of undeveloped land, Fraserway RV created an industry-leading facility of over 100,000 square feet, in three specific purpose-designed buildings, making Fraserway RV the largest Canadian coast-to-coast RV full-service dealership and RV rentals market leader, according to a news release from RVDA of Canada.
With direct access from Highway #1, the entrance includes easy access to the main building; the “big rig” accessible, spacious, covered service drop-off/pick-up area; 60-foot drive-through parking; the RV rentals area; and a free sani-dump station.
The main building sports an architectural floor-to-ceiling glass design that make the space bright with visibility high for customers to look at the 20+ units that fit in the 14,000-square-foot showroom. Multiple sales offices on the mezzanine overlook the showroom floor and the waterfall fountain at the reception desk. From there, customers can access the 8,000-square-foot, well-stocked parts department, with “everything RV” well displayed to enhance their shopping experience
With over 400 retail units on the lot and both indoor and outdoor lifestyle displays, there is something to accommodate any travel or camping plans, Product lines are from the industry’s leading manufacturers, including Winnebago, Adventurer, Forest River, Thor, Monaco, Keystone, Okanagan, Cikara and Starcraft.
The service building features a 40-foot-by-100-foot covered customer drop-off bay, five covered delivery bays, 24 service bays measuring 20 feet by 50 feet and a covered outdoor, “big rig” friendly wash bay.
Supported by the largest group of experienced, certified RV Technicians in the industry and top-rate equipment, the service department is capable of completing any RV repairs. Housed in a third building, Fraserway RV’s service department also has a paint and body shop that features a state-of-the-art 60-foot-long paint booth that can accommodate any size of RV and even a semi-truck.
Also located in the third building are the sizeble parts warehouse, which supports other RV dealerships in Western Canada as well as Fraserway RV locations across Canada, and Four Seasons Rentals, a division of Fraserway RV that has efficient pick-up and drop-off procedures.
The growth of the company was not always an easy ride. At the April celebration, owner James Epp commented on the company’s ups and downs – noting a time when loans were needed to cover payroll until the next week’s manufactured units were delivered and the challenges to the dealership during the oil embargo situation. However, his dad (Erdman Epp) was always a model of customer care and generosity, which led to many referrals and much repeat business. The success of Fraserway RV has largely been due to the Epp family’s vision, dedication and service to the RVing public – “Never satisfied until good is better and better is best.”
Fraserway RV began as a five-employee camper manufacturer in 1969 bought by Erdman and Mabel Epp. This was later bought by son, James Epp, which he expanded, creating Western Canada’s first RV superstore in 1987 and coast-to-coast operations in 2004.
From the beginning, “Erd” intended Fraserway RV to be a family business, so it was a natural step in the 1980s for ownership to be purchased by his sons, with Chris taking on the responsibility for the newly acquired manufacturing division of Trav-L-Mate in Penticton, British Columbia, and James taking on Fraserway RV operations in Abbotsford.
As Fraserway continued to grow, the Abbotsford dealership expanded from its original 5,000-square-foot plot in 1969 to a new customer friendly location, featuring a 5,000-square-foot showroom, a 5,000-square-foot parts department and six service bays. Fraserway also continued adding experienced employees to share information and technology in order to strengthen the company’s position within the growing RV market.
Fraserway unexpectedly began renting RVs in the early 1990s when, after buying 85 liquidated motorhomes that they intended to sell, they were approached by a rental company to lease 25 of the units. Two years later, the rental fleet had grown from 50 units to 125. In June 1994, the company underwent a significant expansion by opening its Annacis Island operation in Delta, British Columbia, joining the Calgary, Alberta, facility in featuring RV rentals for the traveling tourist, both homegrown and foreign.
The Halifax dealership opened in 2004; in 2005, the Whitehorse location celebrated the grand opening of their new building; and in 2006 the Toronto and Edmonton locations were opened. In 2007, a 25,000-square-foot full-service RV dealership in Airdrie, Alberta, was opened and in the fall of 2008, the two Abbotsford dealerships amalgamated into the brand new dealership.
Today, Fraserway RV is very much a family operation, with James’ son Timothy assisting in the parts department; son, David, managing the sales department at Fraserway-owned Travelhome RV; Brenda and David Yirka (sister and brother-in-law) playing the role of Fraserway RV’s “Goodwill Ambassadors” helping with driving and transferring inventory; and wife, Vanessa Epp, assisting with interior décor and company events.
Nationally, Fraserway boasts nine retail sales locations from British Columbia through to the Atlantic, and north to Whitehorse, with over 2,000 units in sales inventory; over $2 million in parts and accessories inventory; state-of-the-art service facilities, staffed by certified RV technicians; and the largest, independently owned rental fleet in Canada with just over 1,000 RVs, which serves customers coast to coast by offering one-way packages between Vancouver, Calgary, Whitehorse, Toronto and Halifax.