Mike Gove became Minnesota’s newest RV dealer in May when he purchased RV’s Plus in Willmar. He celebrated the purchase and renaming of the dealership to Minnesota RV with a grand opening Aug. 17-19.
Minnesota RV, a member of the Route 66 dealer network, features 20,000 square feet under one roof with three indoor showrooms, a two-story parts department equipped with five service bays and an accessories retail store.
Gove was a 20-year veteran in sales and marketing with IBM before becoming intrigued with owning his own RV dealership several years ago while designing some marketing materials for an RV rental firm in the Minneapolis area
The 45-year-old Gove says he brings a passion for RVing to his new business.
“It’s a bit of a change coming from a huge corporation focused on technology to a small family business focused on fun,” he said. “But it is a great change. Minnesota RV’s focus is its service department. Without quality and timely service, the sales, parts and accessories store and rentals do not matter.”
Gove originally thought he might establish a new dealership in the Minneapolis area, but his plans “took a turn sideways” when he met RV’s Plus owner Les Schermack and arranged to buy his business, located about 80 miles west of Minneapolis.
Gove, among other things, has been busy redesigning his website, which will become an important part of his business, he said, as his dealership is located in a sparsely populated region in west-central Minnesota. He already has conducted some statewide advertising, capitalizing on the fact that he is the only Safari and Beaver dealer in Minnesota.
Gove said 2006 has been a challenging year to enter the RV business, especially for the motorized segment. “It seems to be harder these days for small dealers outside metro areas to compete in the Class A market,” he said.
Having said that, Gove, citing University of Michigan research that suggests the industry has at least 20 good years ahead of it, is encouraged by the industry’s long-term prospects.