Extending its presence in Brainerd, Minn., located in the heart of the state’s lake country, PleasureLand RV Center Inc. is hosting a grand opening Thursday (June 18) through Saturday to officially christen a new 28,000-square-foot facility representing the company’s sixth location.
In conjunction with the opening of the full-service dealership, PleasureLand will also be adding the third outlet in its chain of “budget lots” catering to price-conscious buyers with a full selection of used RVs. Dan Pearson, president and CEO of the family-operated retailer, told RVBUSINESS.com that the budget store concept was put in place around 13 months ago and has proven to be a key profit center for PleasureLand.
“A lot of customers, looking for that $6,000 to $8,000 RV feel intimidated when they walk onto a big box store lot,” he said, noting the budget lot was located less than a mile from the new store. “Now we can accommodate that buyer. They are also able to work with salespeople that are dedicated to that end of the spectrum. Instead of letting them walk, we now have a way to retain that business.”
He added, “The rule of thumb is that the budget lot stocks units that are over seven years old. We used to be wholesaling in excess of 150 units a year. Now we can not only make a gross profit, but we eliminate the fees involved with sending units to auction.”
Pearson reported that the budget lot will also be a testing ground for the company’s first surplus store. “We have started buying overage from the OEMs,” he said. “The surplus store will be handling all sorts of accessories and parts – water heaters, appliances, doors, windows, you name it, including ice fishing supplies. The OEMs jumped right on board. This gives them a way to make money on products that become obsolete when they change their designs.
“It’s been open for five weeks and we have people driving two to three hours to shop the surplus store versus buying from a parts store at a dealership. The concept has been really interesting. The more we get into it, the more prospects we see.”
According to Pearson, the main dealership, situated on 14 acres of a 32-acre site, is highly focused on service, taking advantage of the host of campgrounds that saturate the region.
“Service is absolutely critical in Brainerd,” he said. “There is an incredible demand for service and parts – which also fits into our surplus store concept. We’re able to target a very unique demographic with all the RVers that come to the area.”
The new site will meet that demand with 10 50-foot service bays providing a full menu for RV service and maintenance, complete body repair, and accessory installation. On the sales side, PleasureLand will display over 150 RVs while also offering the area’s only indoor showroom along with onsite rental operations that include planning and booking vacation trips.
Pearson said the expansion, which serves the growing market in Brainerd, was also the result of a continued boon in sales and profits for PleasureLand.
“We went into 2015 thinking that we would see 4% to 5% growth,” he said. “But we’re having a phenomenal year, up double digits from 2014. And it’s all the way around – motorized towable, rental, and parts and service.”