Ed Smoot is used to dealing with customers who like to live life on the move, but when it comes to his new business in Kansas’s Miami County, he’s happy staying right where he is.
Ed and his wife, Inga, recently moved their recreational vehicle service business, A-Z Mobile RV Inc., to Miami County, and business has boomed during the couple months since the doors were opened, according to the Louisburg Herald.
Ed said he first started the business in 2001 after seeing that there was a strong need for mobile RV service in the Kansas City metro area. The business was based in Edgerton until 2006, then moved to Olathe.
With the business growing each year, Ed said it was finally time for him and his family to acquire what they had been working toward for about a decade — a large tract of land in an easily accessible rural area where he could construct a building that could meet his needs.
It turned out that a tract of land along Lone Star Road, just south of 327th Street in Miami County, fit the Smoots’ guidelines perfectly.
Workers broke ground on the project in October 2009, and the main outside structure was completed before a harsh winter. Ed said he got the certificate of occupancy in mid-March, and he opened his business thinking that customers primarily would be from the base he established in Olathe.
Much to his surprise, many Miami County residents jumped at the chance to fix up their RVs at a local business.
“We didn’t plan on all the local business,” Ed said. “It’s been a great surprise to us.”
Even though the business has a Paola address, it is in Osawatomie’s growth area, and most of his work was inspected by Osawatomie officials.
“It’s been a pleasure working with them,” Ed said. “They acted like they wanted us here.”
So far, Ed said, his customers have been acting like they want him here, too.
Offering everything from minor repairs to such high-end electrical improvements as satellite systems and appliances, A-Z Mobile RV brings in a variety of customers.
Ed said most are retirement age, and some live in their RVs and travel the country.
“They have some of the greatest stories ever,” Ed said. “The movie ‘RV’ with Robin Williams is pretty dead on. They’ve all experienced things like that.”
Not all of Ed’s customers stop by his shop, though.
With a fleet of service vans and a staff of eight employees, Ed is able to take his business out into the community.
Still, he loves to see recurring customers make the trip to bring their RVs to his new shop. One owner drove his large vehicle from hsi home in Platte County, Mo., through the Kansas City City metro area to his shop.
“We make sure that they get what they want at a fair price,” Ed said.
Business is starting to pick up, as spring, summer and fall are the busiest times; Ed said he also always gets busy just before holiday weekends. This year’s Memorial Day weekend was no exception..
Ed was busy Tuesday afternoon, fielding calls — one from an RV driver who wanted to stop by and get his air-conditioning unit fixed during his Memorial Day travels.
Ed won’t complain about his busy work schedule, though, especially during a struggling economy. Since RVs are considered a luxury to many people, Ed was worried his business might hurt once the economy started to go south, but he said it actually has helped him.
With many customers no longer able to afford purchasing larger, more expensive RVs, they turn to Ed to improve the one they have by adding awnings, satellite systems or other features.
“I own one as well, so I can relate to what they want,” Ed said.
Local residents who want to learn more about the business and enjoy some free food, can attend an open house from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25. Ed said there will be door prizes, food and drinks.
A-Z Mobile RV, which is at 32747 Lone Star Road, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ed can be reached at (913) 893-6949; the business has a website at www.azmobilerv.com.