Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A conducted by the Spokesman-Review, Spokane Wash., with Ron Little owner of RVs Northwest discussing the dealership’s success and the RV industry’s comeback.
Ron Little knew almost nothing about RVs two decades ago.
“I was selling cars,” he recalled, “when a good friend who worked at RVs Northwest offered me a job.”
That was in 1992. Ten years later, Little owned the business.
Today, RVs Northwest is one of the region’s largest trailer and motorhome dealerships, with two sales locations – 18919 E. Broadway and 10006 N. Division – and a third lot set to open in Coeur d’Alene next month.
Little discussed the industry’s evolution and his dream road trip during a recent interview.
S-R: Why did you choose sales as a career?
Little: It was a way to make a decent living, and I had a knack for it. I enjoy people. I studied business in school because I always wanted to own my own business, although I didn’t expect it to be this large when I was younger.
S-R: How was the transition from selling cars to recreational vehicles?
Little: That was easy. People are more excited to shop for RVs than for cars, because they’re trying to fulfill their family weekend getaway dreams or retirement dreams. So it’s a fun business.
S-R: How did you end up owning the business?
Little: It was a case of being at the right place at the right time with the right motivation. I went from selling to sales manager, then general manager, and in 2001, I became the owner.
S-R: Did you have a mentor?
Little: Yes, and that was a big part of my success. The previous owner – Bill Fishfader – was a very good mentor and friend. He’s not in Spokane anymore, but we still talk every other day.
S-R: What’s a lesson he taught you?
Little: I think the biggest surprise for me going into management was how much time you need to spend working with your own employees, keeping them happy. I used to think it was all about the customer. I have a very loyal crew – one has been here 26 years – and they all seem to enjoy coming to work in the morning. I couldn’t have created that atmosphere if I hadn’t been mentored.
S-R: How has the industry evolved since you joined it 21 years ago?
Little: The product has evolved quite a bit. It used to be you just wanted a place to get out of the rain with a few comforts, like a sofa, a bed, and maybe something really fancy like a microwave. Now people want all the luxuries of home and then some, like entertainment centers so the kids can play their video games. The slide-out rooms were the biggest change that got people interested, because they let you turn a little 26-foot trailer into a very large living area.
To read the entire interview click here.
Someone with a penchant for flat-screen televisions and stereo equipment is targeting eastern Washington motorhome dealers, The Spokesman Review reported.
Thousands of dollars worth of TVs and stereos have been stolen from vehicles and trailers at lots from Spokane Valley to Post Falls, police announced this week.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest a suspect.
According to a news release, victim businesses include RVs Northwest, 18919 E. Broadway, which was struck during the night of Sept. 29, and R&R RVs at 23203 E. Knox during the night of Sept. 28. Blue Crick RV at 13915 W. Highway 2 in Airway Heights has been hit, as well as Blue Dog RV at 4490 N. Riverbend in Post Falls, Idaho.
Blue Dog was hit twice (Sept. 29 and Oct. 1) and lost 12 flat screens in the second burglary.
Post Falls police believe the thieves damaged cabinetry and cut wires connecting the TV walls. Investigators believe channel locks were used to break door locks.
Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.
RV’s Northwest in Spokane Valley, Wash., is a new Holiday Rambler dealer.
“We are pleased to partner with RV’s Northwest,” said Scott Jacobson, national sales manager for Holiday Rambler, a division of Monaco RV LLC. “With this addition we are able to bring our products to a large market in the greater Northwest of the country. RV’s Northwest experienced and knowledgeable staff will provide excellent sales and service support before and after the sale.”
RV’s Northwest operates a modern sales and service facility, along with a 20,000-square-foot parts store. It is a full service dealership, staffed with factory-trained technicians, many of whom are RVDA certified or master certified for RV repair with over 180 years combined experience.
For more information about RV’s Northwest and their products and services, visit www.rvsnorthwest.com.
For more information about Holiday Rambler products, visit www.holidayrambler.com.