Longtime Le Mars, Iowa, dealer Fedders Marine & RV has expanded its operations, moving to a 13-acre site at U.S. Highway 75 and Iowa Highway 60, according to a report by the Sioux City Journal.
The business was essentially landlocked at its former two-acre site where outside parking was limited and the doors to the old service bays were too short to accommodate many of the modern campers, which top out at a height of just over 13 feet.
“Now we can pull all the big fifth-wheels and motorhomes into the new service facility,”Sales Manager Mike Salter said. “You don’t have to worry about trees and power lines and people on the street. It’s just a lot more user-friendly.”
Located at the junction of two busy highways, the new out-of-town site provides greater visibility and easier customer access. The full-service dealership attracts from a wide range in Siouxland, but across the country.
The new 20,000-square-foot structure features a large showroom, which last month displayed eight campers and a boat. The added storage space allows the dealership to carry a larger variety of parts and accessories, Salter said.
There is also enough outdoor space to display space for more than 100 new and used RVs. Another new feature is a drive-through wash bay.
The new site, which opened about three months ago, also will have a small campground with electric and water hookups. After picking up new campers, customers are invited to stay a few days to test out them out.
“If they live out of town, they can make sure everything is OK before they leave our property,” Salter said.
The dealership was founded in 1965 by Marv Fedders. His son, Matt, today owns and operates the family business.
Le Mars, Iowa dealership Fedders Marine & RV was approved for a tax rebate by the county supervisors on its proposed expansion and relocation.
According to the Le Mars Daily Sentinel, the supervisors approved a five-year partial tax rebate, not to exceed $55,000, for the development, contingent upon the creation of two full-time job positions with a combined salary of at least $62,000. Under the rebate agreement Fedders will pay full taxes on his estimated $1 million expansion but receive a rebate back for a specified percentage of those dollars.
Since the location of Fedders’ proposed development on Highway 75 is in a Joint Urban Renewal Area shared by the county and the city of Le Mars, both government bodies had to approve Fedders’ tax rebate. The Le Mars City Council approved the measure at its April 3 meeting.
County Auditor Stacey Feldman explained Fedders’ tax rebate will start when the property has reached its full assessment, which is expected as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Feldman also noted the maximum rebate is $55,000 and once that amount is reached, even if it’s before the end of the five-year agreement, the rebate will end.
Fedders Marine & RV will be moving into a larger location in the coming year, according to a report by the Le Mars Daily Sentinel.
“We’ve been growing, our sales are up and we are just running out of room here,” said Matt Fedders, CEO for the Le Mars-based towable dealer. “The campers are getting bigger and the building is not tall enough any more, so we need a bigger facility that will accommodate the bigger campers.”
Serving customers is the focus of the move for Fedders, which offers RV sales and service along with boat repair. “I think it’s going to be easier to serve our customers with more space, easier parking and easier access,” Fedders said.
Fedders said he has been considering a move for a few years and decided on a location near the Highway 75 bypass, which will give the dealership higher visibility.
“I’m hoping the bypass will attract passersby because I think we lost some of that when we had the bypass come around Le Mars,” Fedders said.
The new location will also provide more space, said Micah Salter, Fedders sales and finance manager. “That’s definitely going to be the biggest benefit and it’s going to be easier for people to pull in with the big RVs,” Fedders explained.
With new buildings and an inside showroom, Fedders plans to increase inventory for the business, which has customers nationwide.
“We’ll carry more products for customers to look at,” Fedders said. “One of our main goals is to have 30 units in an indoor showroom.”
Other plans for the new location include eventually having storage for RVs available year-round and to offer campsites. “We might sell a camper to somebody from Washington state,” Salter said. “They can come, stay in their RV overnight to try it out and travel on home.”
A Midwest location has been a plus for his business, Fedders said.
“Regardless of what everybody says about the economy, our RV business has been strong,” Fedders said.
RV manufacturer Crossroads Inc. just named Fedders Marine & RV the largest Cruiser RV dealer in the nation, he said.
He attributes the popularity of recreational vehicles to family.
“You can buy a camper and camp the whole summer every weekend going out and having fun,” he said. “When you take a trip to Disneyland, your vacation money is spent for the whole summer.”
His father, Marv, started the business 60 plus years ago, Fedders said. “We’re a family-run business and we try to treat everyone like family,” he said.
Currently, there are five full-time and two part-time employees. In addition to support from his wife, Julie, Fedders said the staff includes Leroy Walhberg as service manager and Glenda Fedders as title clerk.
“We’re hoping the change in location will allows us to better help our customers with their needs,” Salter said.