Tom Raper RV’s is Marking 50th Anniversary
The Arent family from outside Denver, Colo., visits Richmond, Ind., on a regular basis. They come because that’s where Tom Raper RV’s is located, according to a report on Pal-item.com.
Traveling in an RV purchased from the dealership, the family comes to check out what new possibilities might be available in the RV world. “We’re always looking for what the next one could be,” said Doug Arent.
Corporate sales Manager Ed Unger III said the dealership, which is marking its 50th year, attracts people from all over the country. In fact, the reach extends beyond U.S. boundaries. “We’ve kind of helped put Richmond on the map,” Unger said.
That’s due in large part to the efforts of Tom Raper himself. Though Raper sold the business to then-general manager David Bane in 2002, his name remains associated with the dealership he built up from next to nothing.
Raper had $2,000 in capital when he opened a used car dealership on the corner of North 14th and E streets in 1964. The accommodations were modest, to say the least. “My office was built to be a chicken coop,” Raper said during a phone call from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Not many people encouraged Raper in the endeavor. “Tom, you’ll never make it. You’re going to go broke,” he remembers. “The only person that thought I’d make it was my dad.”
Except perhaps for Raper himself.
“I expected to do good in it,” he said, expressing no surprise that the business has reached its 50th year.
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