George Sutton RV Reopens After Horrific Fire
Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from George M. Sutton RV describing the devastation following a fire last August – determined to be an act of arson – that destroyed the Oregon dealership, and the owners’ determination to regroup and rebuild.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2012, George M. Sutton III and his wife and business partner Martha Sutton watched helplessly as the administrative offices of their Eugene, Ore., RV dealership burned to the ground. The building was completely leveled, and few items could be salvaged. After 18 years in business, the Suttons were devastated by the loss.
Ever the optimists, and no strangers to “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps,” the Suttons are back in business and holding a grand reopening of the new facility on May 3-5. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4p.m.
The Suttons awoke the morning of August 14th to find out that their business was on fire. Upon reaching the scene, they witnessed five fire trucks battling the flames of what had been their offices. The 2,600-square-foot recently renovated building was approximately 80 years old and housed the finance department, three sales offices, Martha’s kitchen (she makes lunch every Saturday), and the Sutton’s office. Included inside were several Native American relics and other treasures the Suttons collected from their travels all across the country. Also lost was a special Airstream RV display case and a large buffalo head. A few items were salvaged, but the Suttons were heartbroken to watch it all go up in smoke. Fortunately, according to Martha Sutton, the Suttons were able to retain their entire staff during the renovation. “We are very blessed. No one was hurt, we’re still here, and we’re still in business,” said Martha Sutton.
Forensic experts determined the Suttons were the victims of arson. No leads have been identified by authorities. George Sutton, however, was not worried. “My family has a long history of bouncing back and thriving in the face of adversity,” he said. “My grandfather, the first George Murphy Sutton, started a Ford dealership back in the 20′s. He ran his business – right through the Depression – until he died in 1948, leaving the dealership to my dad and me. In 1995, we started George M. Sutton RV, and we’ve been here ever since. Business could not be better, in spite of the recent recession.”
That’s why the Suttons are putting this chapter behind them and moving forward to celebrate the rebirth of the dealership and the new, state-of-the-art facility. “We see it as a new beginning,” said Martha Sutton. After months of waiting for permits, demolition began in January and construction has steadily continued since. The Suttons decided to consolidate all administration personnel in the new building. Fort Sutton, the iconic main building flanked by two Indian statues, is also going through remodeling and will house all sales staff and the finance department.
The grand reopening event is free and open to the public, and there is no charge for parking. Since the fire, the dealership has become a member of the Route 66 RV Dealer Network, and free Route 66 customer care packages will also be given away free.
For more information visit www.suttonrv.com.