Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.32.48 PMAs Sarah Friedenberg takes over ownership at ArrKann Trailer & RV Centre, her eye is on growing the business started by her grandfather, which now boasts operations in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. 

Growth and change have been part of the family’s business history, Friedenberg told RVBUSINESS.com. She took over the reins this month when her father, Ken, stepped aside as general manager and joined the newly formed board of advisors. “We want to make sure there’s people who are smarter than me who have learned the hard way and can help me learn the easy way,” she said.

Freidenberg said the dealership was founded in the ’50s, noting, “My grandfather had a hardware store to start with, and then started renting tent trailers out of the back. After a while, he decided the rental portion was more profitable. They moved lots, and my uncle and my father joined him.”

They “continued to build the business,” even foraying into manufacturing trailers until a 1987 tornado in Edmonton destroyed their manufacturing facility, she said.

Sales and rentals continued for a couple of decades, until they shuttered the rental business in 2007, thanks in part to the boom in the Alberta oilfields drying up the worker pool while also needing more space for sales. “It made more sense for selling new than renting,” she said.

By that point, Friedenberg had completed her business degree and was part of the company. “I moved up through the parts department. It’s a family business, so I’ve done a little of everything,” she said.

With two Edmonton locations, ArKann opened the Calgary store in December, 2012, Freidenberg said. “We’re purchasing land in Calgary to move the dealership and we’re going to get that up and running. We plan on purchasing more stores, expanding into additional dealerships.”

She added, “As customers become more savvy, we need to be able to negotiate stronger volume discounts, and the way to do that is by buying more,” she said.

ArrKann focuses on tent trailers, travel trailers and fifth-wheel RVs from Keystone RV Co., Forest River Inc., Heartland RV and Kamparoo Campers.