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According to RV retailer Jeff Pastore his dad, John, is the family’s idea guy.
John, in his early 70s, is the surviving founder of two family businesses whose history is an interesting mix of tenacity and good business sense, according to a report in the Suburbanite, Akron, Ohio.
Jeff, eldest of John’s sons, currently operates Hartville RV in Hartville, Ohio, which his father established in 1971. It marked the third business venture for John, who opened a barber shop and later a dry cleaning business before opening the RV center.
According to Jeff, the move stemmed from a love of camping shared by John, wife Nancy and their five sons. Initially, Hartville RV rented pop-up camper, offering an affordable vacation for families.
“Dad’s philosophy is that a family only has about 15 summers together,” said Jeff. “If you think about it that way, each vacation is special.”
Within several years John quit barbering and was selling RVs. In 1994 he was named Businessman of the Year in Lake Township.
Under Jeff’s leadership, Hartville RV continues to thrive.
“People may think that because of gas prices our business might suffer,” said Jeff. But quite the opposite is true. “2008 has been our best year thus far.”
Pastore said that several factors attract people to the lifestyle, including spending time with family. And in the past several years, the industry has broadened its market with production of sport utility recreational vehicles.
“Some of our towable units have an extended area to haul bikes or kayaks or bring home treasured antiques,” said Pastore.
Pastore quickly points to his staff as a reason for the dealership’s high achievement. “We have 15 amazing people and we are a team,” he said.
Pastore is also involved in industry affairs, serving as the current chairman of the Recreation Vehicle Dealer’s Association (RVDA). He has an office in Washington, D.C., and travels the U.S. and Canada in his role as spokesperson for the industry. His work as chairman involves talking with industry leaders, the federal government and the media to ensure a business climate that will help dealerships flourish.
Before his role as chairman he was a member of a management group that reviewed the personnel and financial policies of dealerships around the country and made recommendations to them. Pastore said he has a voracious appetite for learning and improving business practices.
In 2000, Hartville RV was chosen by RVBusiness magazine as one of 10 dealerships in the country that should be emulated. “We don’t have a unique business philosophy,” statef Jeff, “but we have had a lifetime of success by doing business according to the golden rule.”