Saying it was the “realization of a life-long dream,” TerryTown RV Superstore owner Tom Selvius cut the ceremonial red ribbon April 12 to officially open the dealership’s new RV Warehouse and its 77,000-square-foot indoor showroom.
The new facility is part of a larger 217,000-square-foot warehouse owned by Selvius, and is located just around the corner from the main TerryTown RV dealership and its Motor Homes 2 Go operation.
“Today is a culmination of 46 years of hard work, bad times and great times, and a lot of planning,” Selvius told the audience of employees, friends, family and a large contingent of RV manufacturers. “From starting in 1973 in an old barn where it was a one-man show — and that was me — and 80 hours a week of working. I was the shop man. I was the wash boy. I was the delivery boy. I did everything. I even picked them up from the factory.
“And then in 1976,” he continued, “we moved to the Division Avenue location and built the core part where you walk in the front door of a 6,000-square-foot building. In 1983, we doubled that building and again in 1990 we added another 7,000 square feet.
“At that time all the reps, everybody that we talked to, said ‘You’ve got the largest showroom in the United States.’ And so, with this new warehouse, we’re ready to retake that claim. With our regular showroom, the motorhome showroom and now with this space, we have 125 units inside for proper display.”
Selvius added that RV Warehouse could eventually grow to occupy more of the building’s 217,000 square feet, which would include eateries and other ancillary operations. A portion of the new facility is dedicated to Internet sales, which could grow as well, he pointed out.
“My dream has always been to have a huge display space and amenities in that display space, like a restaurant and maybe some small shops. And I’ve always dreamed of having a grand piano playing when people are looking at RVs,” Selvius mentioned before turning his attention to what RV Warehouse means for the overall operations. “We’re looking ahead to keep TerryTown No. 1; to stand still is to go backwards. We continue to add to our sales staffs, which in turn should mean an increase to the staffing needs in the service department. In the past five years we have quadrupled our facility for service.”
TerryTown Manager Matt Kortman, who’s been with the company for 27 years, said RV Warehouse will make it much easier for customers to comfortably inspect RVs given the dealership’s location near Lake Michigan often means plentiful snow. The company employs about 125 people, sells upwards of 2,500 RVs annually and has about $18 million in retail inventory. RV Warehouse’s indoor showroom has enough space for about 100 RVs, he added, and looks to provide a significant boost to the operations.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to make this a huge mecca as a shopping destination for RV enthusiasts across the area. We’re calling it a whole new way to shop for an RV, and it really will kind of put us several strides ahead of the competition in the area, for sure. I don’t know of anywhere else in the state that has anything like this or even the Midwest. So it should be pretty awesome,” Kortman said.