If there’s an engine that runs on social media envy and daydreams, it’s the one powering the business of building adventure wagons.
The Columbian reported that van conversion, where everything from old Volkswagen Vanagons to plain white work vans are turned into yachts-on-wheels, is thriving in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area. Companies thank the growing numbers of retirees and untethered freelancers who are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to be nomads in comfort.
The trend is helping local companies like Van Haus Conversions and Panther RV Products do bigger and bigger business every year. Revenue growth is in high gear, both companies said, and they are primed to expand.
“One reason is this whole boom of people doing corporate jobs, stuck in the cubicle and seeing images of #VanLife,” said Erik Ferjancic, owner of Van Haus Conversions, alluding to a social media trend that romanticizes a van pilgrimage to bonfire-lit beaches or to the feet of golden bluffs and mountains. “It’s fueling this whole ‘I want to get out of this 9-to-5.’ ”
Like the dream vans they create, interior space is tight but wisely used at Van Haus’ headquarters in West Minnehaha. Three tall vans are parked in the bay of a 2,000-square-foot warehouse, where they will be soundproofed, redesigned and tailored to the customers’ needs over the course of about two months.
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