Longtime Reno, Nev., dealer Mountain Family RV has closed, according to a report by a local TV station.
KOLO TV reported that owner Jon Whipple said shutting down and laying off 16 people, was the hardest thing he’s ever done. The retailer was founded in 1988.
Whipple said a 40% drop in sales helped kill his business, but the closure of several RV manufacturers also contributed. He noted that the national credit crunch has made it much harder for buyers to qualify for loans.
A few miles away at the family-owned Sierra RV, sales manager Dave O’Brien said that while it’s sad to see colleagues in the RV industry fail, it could mean a higher sales share for him in the future. In 2008, he says he saw only a small decrease – about eight less RV’s were sold than in 2007 out of an average of 300 sales a year.
“It’s all about disposable income. People choose to spend it in different places. Whether you ride quads or boats or skydive or golf. When you get down to it, the average golfer spends more a month on golfing than you can buy an RV for,” said O’Brien.
Owner Cathie McDonald said she stays afloat by running a lean business. But she knows there is now way to predict the economic future.
“Right now, we have 16 employees. Some have been with me five or six years and I feel like they’re family and I am responsible for them. I want Sierra RV to do well so they do well,” said MacDonald.
Mountain RV’s owner said he’s sad to say goodbye to his business and his loyal customers. Whipple says he has lots of work to do in order to clear out his stock. In the meantime, the closure is trickling down.
“It’s obviously very disappointing because we see a lot of businesses cutting back and not creating more business for us little guys. So there’s a chain reaction happening,” he said.