Wash. RV Dealers Propping Up Local Economy
The two letters hover above a three-mile stretch of Washington State’s Interstate 90, as familiar as the surrounding tree-covered hills.
As an acronym “RV” may be brief, but the reign of retailers specializing in recreational vehicles on the eastern fringe of Spokane County appears to be anything but short-lived. The Splash, Liberty Lake, reported that a trio of stores – Freedom RV, Camping World and R n’ R RV – call the city of Liberty Lake home, while two more – Spokane RV Liquidators and RVs Northwest – are a Frisbee toss from city limits.
“RVs represent leisure living,” said Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson. “They’re a part of our environmental heritage in Liberty Lake. It seems if people don’t have a place by the lake, they go and buy an RV.”
From a financial perspective, Peterson said the RV business represents between 20% to 25% of the city’s sales tax revenue, depending on the year. In the early part of this year, when the city saw a significant jump in sales tax revenue, local RV retailers were the key, thanks to robust numbers from January.
“You look at the major drivers of sales tax in the city and it’s RVs, cars and houses,” Peterson said. “I see these RV dealerships bringing people into Liberty Lake.”
RVs Northwest was the first to set up shop along the freeway, moving from a site on Sprague Avenue in 1995. Original estimates were that sales would increase 20 percent with the transition – instead business improved 100 percent in the first six months. General Manager Ron Little said the confluence of stores has created “an easier avenue for RV shopping.”
“I also know that everyone who is going to my competitors has to go by my front door,” Little said.
Before RVs Northwest changed venues, Little said the trend for RV shops was to plant roots along Sprague or Division. Now, “RV row” is firmly entrenched along the freeway that carries its own share of motorhomes and trailers sailing the open road.
“I’d like to think we’re all friendly competitors,” Little said.
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