Emerging mega-dealer RV Retailer LLC (RVR) is expanding its geographic reach into the Arizona and South Carolina markets with the acquisition of Tom’s Camperland’s three Phoenix-area stores as well as Camper Country RV’s single-outlet, Myrtle Beach, S.C., dealership that’s been renovated and rebranded as RVR’s eighth RV One Superstore.
RV Retailer, led by former AutoNation executives, purchased its first RV dealership only a year earlier in conjunction with its capital partner, Redwood Capital Investments.
Consistent with its three previous acquisitions – including Texas-based Motorhome Specialist and ExploreUSA in addition to New York State’s RV One Superstores – the existing management of a newly acquired dealership is maintaining a stake in the company. Tom’s Camperland owner and President Brad Leach will retain his management role and an equity position as a shareholder in RVR.
Tom’s Camperland, a 42-year-old dealership with Phoenix-area locations in Mesa, Surprise and a newly opened outlet in Avondale, Ariz., sold more than 1,600 RVs in its last fiscal year, with a focus on the light towable segment, reports RVR. In 2018, “Tom’s Camperland was the No. 1 U.S. Lance and NuCamp dealer and a leading retailer of truck campers and truck caps,” RVR stated.
“We are pleased to enter the Arizona and South Carolina markets,” Jon Ferrando, president and CEO of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based RV Retailer, told RVBUSINESS.com. “We expect to grow our business throughout the Carolinas and the Southwest. These markets have excellent demographics and growth prospects for the RV business. RV Retailer now owns 21 RV stores in six states with approximately $1 billion in annual revenue.”
“I’m truly excited to be partnering with Jon Ferrando and the RV Retailer team to continue growing our business with my team,” said Leach. “I also look forward to continuing our outstanding relationships with all of our manufacturer partners.”
RVR Executive Vice President and CFO John Rizzo says that his firm’s most recent acquisition will allow RVR to continue to leverage its scale within the RV industry “to build a great RV retail company with a focus on customer service for the long term.”
Given its acquisitive track record – having acquired 10 stores in Texas, four in Florida, two in New York and one in Iowa within a year — RVR’s long term strategy as a major new retail player is something that has certainly captured the industry’s attention. And while he declined to discuss RVR’s long-term strategy in detail, Ferrando tells RVB that reciprocal service for retail customers at the company’s varied locations is an essential part of the game plan.
“Our goal is to create a world-class RV retail company from a customer experience standpoint, and serve our customers where they are,” said Ferrando. “We want to build great long-term relationships with our customer after the sale. So, we’re investing significantly in our service and parts operations. In fact, we just opened a new retail parts store at Motor Home Specialist (in Texas), and our goal is to provide service for those customers wherever we have a store. So, with 21 stores we now we have a broader network to take care of our customers after sale while they’re on the road.”
RVR, meanwhile, plans on further expansion in several formats including the “hybrid” approach it is taking in Myrtle Beach where the dealership steps into “a great RV market with tons of RV parks” through the purchase of a smaller, rebranded store whose owner in this case has retired.
“We’ll continue growing when the right opportunities present themselves,” Ferrando told RVB. “So, we would like to create a greater scale and plan to execute on growth opportunities over the next few years. Bottom line, we’re still in an acquisition mode — we don’t provide exact goals – and we’re also looking at greenfield sites to open new stores.”