Tom Johnson’s Camping Center, North Carolina’s largest RV dealership, has opened a new service facility at its original 200-acre Marion location in the western part of the state.
“The new facility is totally dedicated to service,” said Gary Stroud, vice president, general manager and a partner with founder Tom Johnson in the retail operation. The 61,000-square-foot addition is in two separate buildings. One houses 33 service bays, a warehouse, parts supply, equipment room and cabinet shop. The other consists of space for the dealership’s service advisor team and customer service area, including a snack bar, seating area, fireplace, wireless Internet connections, a meeting room and bathhouse for the dealership’s nearby campground.
In conjunction with the expansion, 75 modern campsites on concrete pads with 50-amp service were added to the existing 488 campsites in the rally park that adjoins the dealership. The sites are available for customers needing service as well as for the general camping public.
“This new facility is all part of our effort to make this a destination site,” said Stroud, adding that the dealership is located on a two-lane highway well off I-40 in a county with a total population of just 40,000. “You have to look for us to find us,” he said.
Founded in 1967, Tom Johnson Camping Center, which also operates a sister store in Concord near Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, has become an icon on the NASCAR racing circuit. Johnson got in on the ground floor with the racers and the companies that go along with the racers years ago and developed relationships with several speedways, as well as RV-owning race fans. Johnson, who added the Concord store in 2000, sends sales and service crews to all NASCAR races.
As for the year at hand, it’s not bad at all. Tom Johnson’s Camping Center experienced its best sales month ever in May, Stroud reports, as sales staffs from the two stores combined to sell 110 units, 90 of which were motorized, during a time period overlapping two major NASCAR races at the nearby speedway.
“This just didn’t happen overnight,” he added. “It has been a 15-year progression to get people to understand we are there for them.”
True to their brand-conscious reputations, Stroud said, customers “are very loyal to people who support racing, NASCAR racing especially.”
Johnson’s — which annually retails 30% of all the motorhomes sold in the state, according to Stroud — carries Fleetwood, Damon, Forest River, Monaco, Alfa Leisure, Dutchmen, Four Winds International and Chariot Eagle recreational vehicle and recreational park trailer brands.