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General RV’s Opening Livens Local Economy

General RV Center’s ribbon cutting at its new Huntley, Ill., store had the traditional trappings of a grand opening, but Wednesday’s (June 8) ceremony was more significant and signals what officials hope will be an economic boom along the Route 47 and Interstate 90 corridor.

According to the Huntley Patch, the fact the village is holding ribbon cuttings – despite an economic downturn – shows how great it is for new businesses, said Margo Griffin, business development coordinator.

“I think it’s a sign of good things to come,” she said.

General RV, a Michigan-based company with a 50-year history, built a 33,280 square foot showroom on 8.28 acres along Route 47 and Interstate 90 in the Auto Mall. It will be celebrating its grand opening throughout the weekend with deals and free hot dogs.

“We had a good run, we had a good start,” said Hal Hall, sales manager. General RV sent out fliers throughout the Chicago region and sold 14 RVs even before it officially opened, he said.

The RV dealership hopes to sell between 50 to 70 vehicles this weekend, he said. General RV sells every brand of vehicle and is expecting more inventory in the next few days, he said.

Huntley was chosen as the company’s Illinois first dealership for many reasons, including the location and the market, Hall said.

General RV’s location not only works for the dealership, it will help create more business opportunities for the Auto Mall and to the Route 47 corridor, Trustee Harry Leopold said.

“We expect renewed interested” in the area as a result of General RV moving in, he said.

Huntley created a TIF district in 1992 to attract the Huntley Outlet Center and it remains in effect to attract new businesses. But Leopold said the board has “very high standards” and works with solid, financially sound businesses.

A business like General RV helps create a buzz among other businesses considering locations, Griffin said.

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Huntley lately with Centegra Health Care System proposing a hospital off of Reed and Haligus Roads, a new auto tech center, a new Goodwill store on Kreutzer and a new tenant in its industrial park.

This month, the Huntley Chamber of Commerce has two other ribbon cuttings, which have been steadily increasing over the past year, chairman David Veath said Wednesday.

The chamber has a total of 310 members and is looking to add more, he said. It’s great to have an organization like this, it’s tremendous,” Veath said as he stood in the middle of the showroom.

General RV’s new showroom also created a buzz with customers who traveled from across the area to the grand opening. Heather Kahl, her children Blake, 5, and Katelynn, 7, got a free cooler/tote for signing up for more information. Kahl said they love camping but were just looking Wednesday.

“Oh, look at that. Isn’t this awesome,” said Walter Larsen of Woodstock. He looked at a Fuzion Touring Edition RV that featured a pop up porch and ramp to haul motorcycles or other small vehicles.

He, too, was just looking Wednesday.

There were many RVs to look at, with more than 100 on display. Many had bright colored signs indicating sales.

The 10 a.m. ceremony drew Huntley leaders, businesses and employees out to the parking lot where Mayor Charles Sass said a few words.

“Thank you for your commitment to Huntley,” Mayor Charles Sass said after presenting General RV with a plaque commemorating the day.

But one manager wrapped up the ceremony with “Let’s start selling some RVs.”

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