Operating out of a tent last winter, U.S. Adventure RV didn’t appear to be a permanent member of the Davenport, Iowa business community.
“The great thing was that we opened in that tent. People were coming in. They would ask how long we were going to be there, thinking we were an RV show or something like that,” Brian Heard, one of the owners of U.S. Adventure RV, told the Quad City Times. “They would ask what was going into the building next to us. We had to explain that we were here permanently and that we would be moving into the building.”
The confusion was understandable. Customers of the previous business were accustomed to pulling into the store’s parking lot to buy building supplies, hardware or lawn mowers. Now there were RVs in the parking lot.
“It’s been fun to be able to make something out of this building and do something for this corridor of Davenport. We’re all from this area,” said John Dresselhaus, another owner.
What the owners have done is take a site that had been empty since 2001, with the probability that it would sit a few more years, and turn it into what they believe is one of the largest RV dealerships in Iowa in terms of covered square feet.
The dealership is no longer in the tent. There is now a showroom, offices and a parts and accessories department in the 30,000-square-foot main building. The service center is located behind the main building where a lumberyard once was and there is more storage under roof adjacent to the main building.
Dresselhaus has a mechanical engineering degree from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in business administration. He has been involved in other startup businesses and had been looking for a startup idea in the automotive industry when he came up with the inspiration for an RV dealership.
Heard has automobile sales experiences and decades of RVing experience while Ben Kirby, another owner, is handling the service department. Dresselhaus’ brother, Paul, is the fourth partner.
“I like the excitement of starting businesses,” said John Dresselhaus. “I’m really excited about this one because it is so family-oriented. What we are selling is fun. It’s a great family activity.’’
In addition to retail sales, the dealership also offers rental and leasing programs.
“We’re kind of a test for Fleetwood with the leasing programs it is introducing,” Dresselhaus said. “The way it works is that for as little as $3,499, you can lease an RV for 60 nights, 9,000 miles or three years, whichever comes first.
“You use the RV, bring it back, and we get it ready to go back out again. What it does is allow people to be introduced to RVing at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost them to purchase. You can use all of your miles or nights at one time if you like.’’