News that St. Cloud, Minn.-based PleasureLand RV Center had relocated its Pleasureland RV Budget Lot to a newly acquired and upgraded facility in Brainerd, Minn., may be only the tip of the iceberg for PleasureLand owner and CEO Dan Pearson’s strategic expansion plans.
As it stands, Pearson’s 46-year-old, family-held dealership has six Gopher State facilities with conventional Pleasureland RV rolling stock stores in St. Cloud, Brainerd and Ramsey and Budget Lot locations in Brainerd, Long Prairie and St. Cloud – the latter of which have been developed over the past three years with both preowned and new inventory to appeal to today’s growing wave of price-sensitive buyers.
The new Brainerd Budget Lot with its expanded 7,700-square-foot service department carries used inventory as well as new travel trailers and expandable towables by Viking, Avenger, Escape and Boundary Waters plus a complete selection of Glacier Ice Houses and cargo trailers.
Pearson said the budget approach, partly a means of offloading dated inventory, has worked quite well. “We try and keep the towables under $12,000 so we’re selling trailers anywhere from $2,000 up to $12,000,” Pearson told RVBUSINESS.com. “Then, on the motorized side, we generally like to stay under $15,000. It’s a concept that has actually worked incredibly well. Those are the same units four years ago that we were wholesaling (at auctions) and discounting out of the main stores. We would wholesale 250 to 300 units a year. We now retain them and sell them at the Budget Lots, and they command more money.”
And while near-term plans also call for the opening of a PleasureLand RV Surplus Store in Brainerd in the near future where excess inventories of appliances, furniture and carpeting will be sold off, Pearson also has his eye on some bigger picture goals.
“As for new locations, we are actually entertaining an acquisition right now as we speak and we’re looking at another expansion organically, so we’re not done,” he reported. “I fully expect us over the next 24 months to add two to four rolling stock stores.”
Realizing how many of his colleagues in RV retailing are currently looking at similar plans for new locations, Pearson sees the organic, build-your-own approach as the preferred way to go.
“I think right now the thing that you have to watch for is that the industry is so good that acquisition costs are probably higher than they’ve been in a very long time,” he noted. “By the same token, organic growth in this market, I think, is a prime opportunity. Also, in my opinion, there are underserved markets and there are overserved markets, but it’s becoming a volume game, and I think you’re going to see — just like with Campers Inn and Camping World — consumers starting to gravitate more and more to chain dealers.”
So, is it possible that Pearson harbors ideas of PleasureLand joining the ranks of those “chain” dealerships to an extent and expanding beyond the Minnesota state line?
“I believe that to be correct,” he responded. “I think you’ll see a Campers Inn type philosophy (among a lot of dealers) where they’re primarily tackling one area like the East Coast. So, what I think you’re seeing here for the most part are a lot of regionals – not necessarily nationwide, but regional dealers who are starting to grow and grow, and I see PleasureLand being one of those.”