Reynolds Brings Six Parks into KOA Fold
When Tom and Michele Reynolds added the Sacramento, Calif., KOA Campground to their collection of 12 California camping resorts in 2005, they weren’t sure they wanted to keep it in the KOA system.
“We were doing pretty well as an independent group,” said Tom Reynolds, who operates his parks under the Reynolds Resorts brand. “I didn’t know if KOA had much to offer us.”
But two short years later, the Reynoldses have agreed to bring six more of their California properties into the KOA campground system, according to a release from the Billings, Mont.-based franchisor. The new KOA campgrounds are the Yosemite South/Coarsegold KOA; Banning Stagecoach KOA; Brannan Island KOA; Colorado River/Blythe KOA; Moss Landing RV Express KOA; and the Santa Cruz North/Costanoa KOA.
“Our experience with the Sacramento West/Old Town KOA the past two years showed us that the support KOA offers in the areas of technology, marketing and training really makes a difference,” said Michele Reynolds. “Once I saw what KOA could do, it was an easy decision to add more of our parks to the KOA system.”
The Reynoldses took a rather unusual path to campground ownership. “About 20 years ago, we were in the financial services business,” said Michele Reynolds. “As we worked with clients on their financial and estate planning, we found a few that had RV parks and campgrounds that their kids just weren’t interested in taking over.
“We ended up purchasing one client’s property when he wanted to retire and his kids didn’t want it and it just grew from there,” she said. “About 10 years ago we decided we were really now in the campground business, so we centralized our operations and started looking for neglected properties that we could make over.”
To help manage 12 parks and one marina, son Nick and daughter-in-law Anna joined the family business shortly after Nick graduated from UCLA, and now second son Chris, an art student, handles the company’s graphic design work. “It’s great to have two generations working here, but I still felt strongly that we needed to run things differently in order to mature the company,” Michele said.
That’s where KOA came into the picture.
“KOA spends a lot of resources studying colors, planning parks and gathering data on the right way to do things,” said Michele. “Working with someone who already had a great template for the fundamentals of marketing, employment, training and even cleaning was very important to me. We could go out and re-invent the wheel, but why bother?”
KOA President and COO Shane Ott said KOA has been equally impressed with the Reynolds family, which has specialized in rejuvenating membership parks that tend to be a bit out of the ordinary. “They did an absolutely wonderful job turning around a Sacramento property that really needed some attention,” he said. “We know that when Tom and Michele take over a park, it is going to end up being a top-notch campground.”