Florida Outdoors RV is readying its new site in Okeechobee for the annual influx of snowbirds, anticipating strong sales at the strategic location that was purchased in July.
“The store is located in south-central Florida and is a hotbed for snowbirds,” said John McCluskey, owner of the company’s flagship store in Stuart for the past eight years. “We had sort of a soft opening in July, which is our off-season, just to get everything in place and work out all the bugs. We felt it was a good time to buy. The economy is back and the environment is right to expand.”
McCluskey said the decision also hinged on a couple of other well-known real estate maxims, starting with “location, location, location.”
“The new store is right next to one of the country’s largest KOA’s, boasting 1,000 RV sites, a golf course, a couple of swimming pools and all sorts of other amenities,” he said. “It pretty much guarantees that we are going to get good traffic when the park fills up. We are also right along Highway 441, which is a major north-south artery in the state.”
And then there is good timing.
“Florida Outdoors RV is a Route 66 dealership, and at our annual meeting it was announced that we had gone into a joint promotion with KOA that gives their members 10% off on parts and accessories at our store,” McCluskey said. “Needless to say, we’ve had some discussions for co-marketing the dealership and KOA.”
Florida Outdoors RV is operating in an existing 20,000-square-foot facility that formerly housed another RV dealership.
“Because of the proximity with KOA, there used to be four dealerships in the area,” McCluskey said. “But they all went under when the economy dumped.”
The Okeechobee store, located on five acres, is a full service dealership, retailing gas motorhomes and a full range of towables along with operating parts and service departments. Currently 10 people are employed at the location.
“So far sales have been what we expected,” McCluskey said. “We know it’s going to be a seasonal store. But we’re very excited about the opportunities and are geared up for strong sales from the snowbirds this winter.”
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