Dennis Dillon RV & Marine Center is in the midst of an ambitious growth plan, as the dealership has initiated expansions on two fronts with large-scale improvements at its home base in Boise, Idaho, and an extensive renovation of the property and facilities that formerly housed McMahon’s RV operations in Westminster, Calif.
Scott Thorpe, general manager for Dillon RV & Marine, reported to RVBUSINESS.com that the company had been “trying to put together a deal for the Westminster location since September of last year.” McMahon’s RV began bankruptcy proceedings in June of 2014 in the wake of a series of financial setbacks and allegations from creditors.
Thorpe emphasized that Dennis Dillon RV “doesn’t have anything to do” with McMahon’s RV. “We are leasing the property in Westminster from a longtime Orange County family that will never sell the property,” said Thorpe, who was general manager at the McMahon’s Westminster dealership prior to joining Dennis Dillon RV. “But we have made a long-term commitment with a 30-year lease.”
While moving quickly with renovations in Westminster, the company recently acquired land in Boise that more than triples its size, including 3/4 of a mile of frontage along I-84.
“With the acquisition, the dealership is now sitting on 40 acres where we’re currently displaying around 650 new RVs and 150 used units,” Thorpe said, noting that Dennis Dillon RV was founded in 2007 while the auto sales arm of the company has been in business for 40 years. “We have also consolidated our power sports business on the property with our RV and marine operations.”
Targeted for 2016 is construction of an approximately 200,000-square-foot facility that will house the retail showroom and parts department along with a service facility that will include up to 30 service bays.
According to Thorpe, the grounds will also offer service customers an overnight RV park with 10-15 sites equipped with full hookups. “It’s strictly for those people that are here for service or parts,” he said. “But it will also serve as walk-through area for customers that purchase an RV, giving them hands-on instruction on everything involved in owning an RV.”
With the addition of the Westminster location, Dennis Dillon RV will be launching a rental business in 2016, taking advantage of the prime travel locations in Idaho and Southern California.
“The concept is that we will give people the opportunity to take possession of a rental vehicle at either location, then travel along one of the most scenic areas of the country,” Thorpe said, noting that the dealer would be handling Class A, B and C motorhomes. “In Boise, we’re in the heart of the region’s national parks, or they could experience the California Coast. Essentially, it would be a one-way rental arrangement.”
Thorpe said that plans for the Westminster location center around a $2.5 million facelift that will include remodeling projects throughout the 14-acre facility, which sits adjacent to two of the main freeways in Orange County. “Data shows there are around 460,000 vehicles that pass by the store every day,” he said.
Currently, Dennis Dillon RV is moving operations into an existing facility with an aggressive timetable set for an April 1 opening.
“On Thursday and Friday, we’ll be holding a job fair, hiring around 50 people, with future plans to employ around 100 people. Westminster will be fully operational on April 1,” he said.
Long-term, the company will be building a 20,000-square-foot retail parts store while updating and renovating the service department and service bays. “We will be modifying service to incorporate a large dedicated area for service customers, while adding 12 new roll-up doors for access to large indoor service bays for our service department,” Thorpe said, adding that the target for completion of the improvements was set for 60-90 days.
The dealership will be also rebranding at both locations. “There will still be signage at both stores saying ‘Welcome to Dennis Dillon RV,’ but we will also be displaying prominently our new branding as DDRV.com,” Thorpe said.