Do not tell Mike Harlan that he is selling recreational vehicles. As he sees it, the real product at Haydocy Airstream & RV is something intangible.“We’re selling love and happiness,” said Harlan, the store’s general manager.
According to a Columbus Dispatch report, he’s not kidding. If you doubt him, he will take out his phone and show you photos that customers have sent him from the road of their silver travel trailers.
In two years since opening, the West Side store has exceeded the most optimistic forecasts of co-owner Chris Haydocy. It is one of the top 10 Airstream franchises in the country, based on new units sold.
The store is riding a nationwide rise in RV sales, and it benefits from being close to the Airstream headquarters and factory in Jackson Center, Ohio, 75 miles west of Columbus.
Despite its proximity to the factory, central Ohio had not been home to an Airstream franchise since 2008, when Bob Caldwell Airstream closed on the North Side. The only other store in Ohio is in Troy, north of Dayton.
Haydocy saw an opening, and he had a space to fill. Next door to his Buick GMC dealership was an empty building that had housed Haydocy Oldsmobile until General Motors discontinued the brand.
“My bankers thought I was crazy,” Haydocy said.
The central Ohio RV market’s big players are in the suburbs. Among them are RCD Sales, with locations in Hebron, Pataskala and Sunbury, and Camping World, previously known as Tom Raper RVs, in London.
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