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RV industry veterans Lee FitzGerald and Buddy Maltone have purchased the former Recreation USA dealership in Bakersfield, Calif., from Holiday RV Superstores Inc. and they now are calling it Venture Out.
Actually, Venture Out is the name of the dealership which FitzGerald’s family founded and which he led beginning in 1987.
Then, in 1994, FitzGerald sold Venture Out to Holiday RV and he was the president of Holiday RV’s West Coast operations until 1996.
FitzGerald’s noncompete agreement with Holiday RV has expired and he believes this is an ideal time to re-enter RV retailing. Meanwhile, Holiday RV has sold its two California dealerships so it can focus on East Coast markets.
FitzGerald’s partner at Venture Out is Maltone, a Bakersfield native who has been involved in the RV industry since 1973, mostly at the Venture Out/Recreation USA location in Bakersfield. He now is vice president and general manager of Venture Out.
Venture Out occupies seven acres and it has 400 square feet of frontage along California Highway 99 in an auto mall in Bakersfield. It also has a 10,000-square-foot showroom, full parts and accessories store and eight service bays.
“One of our first improvements will be to add an additional four service bays,” Maltone said.
FitzGerald and Maltone plan to sell new units built by Winnebago, Thor California, Alpha Leisure, National RV, Weekend Warrior, Forest River and Travel Supreme.
“I am absolutely thrilled that these two very experienced people, Lee and Buddy, are re-entering the marketplace together,” said National RV sales rep Tim Jones. “It’s definitely going to help the overall Bakersfield market.”
Winnebago Industries’ Don Wheatly added, “These gentlemen have an excellent understanding of the industry, the RV product and the customer. We had a fine working relationship when they were in Bakersfield before and I am very pleased that we can now build on that history to grow Winnebago’s presence in the market area.”
To acquire the Bakersfield location, Venture Out agreed to repay $3.1 million worth of Holiday RV’s inventory loan from Bank of America (BofA) and to assume $730,000 of Holiday RV’s debt to BofA, according to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) document that Holiday RV filed.