Deer Run Campground Gets A Makeover
There’s been much ado lately about whether hard work still pays off in America, but Deer Run Campground near Gardners, Pa., and the Crone family are proof that it still can.
Over the last decade, Ray Crone Jr., his wife, Beverly, and father, Ray Crone Sr., have gradually transformed what was once a derelict campground into a successful business, Carlisle’s The Sentinel reported.
“We camped all the time and his father, he’s not one to sit around and relax and camp, so he figured we could camp and keep working,” Beverly said. “We don’t do much camping, but we do a lot of working.”
Less than scratch
When the Crones took over Deer Run Campground, in many ways they were starting worse than they would have been from scratch.
“This place had a bad reputation because it was so run down,” Ray Jr. said, adding his father bought the campground at a sheriff’s sale. “My father, he’s a real go-getter and he took it as a challenge.”
“Truthfully, when we bought it, it looked like a junk yard,” Beverly said. “You saw no grass, you couldn’t even see roads for all the leaves (and) there was junk cars parked all around.”
Gradually, with Ray Jr. and Beverly managing the campground, the family turned things around.
“I had a construction background when I came here so I was capable of doing all of the maintenance,” Ray Jr. said. “She came here with business experience, so she was capable of taking care of the business end of it and I was capable of taking care of the maintenance end of it so together we made a great team.”
Ray Sr. also has a background in construction and until this season, both he and his wife had been involved in the improvement and operation of the campground as well.
With everyone chipping in and by steadily making improvements over the years, the Crones have made Deer Run a success.
“(Business) has probably been up at least 30 percent each year we’ve been here, and that, I have to say, is due to the renovations that have been done over the years,” Ray Jr. said. “The electric was probably the biggest upgrade as far as expense.”
Other improvements include signage, renovations to the bath house and other buildings, the addition of playground equipment and a game room and the addition of two log cabins.
“Starting out the first year (we had) 20 people Memorial Day weekend, now we’re up to 150,” Beverly said. “We’d have more if we had more spaces.”
On top of brick-and-mortar improvements, a major key to the success of Deer Run has also been offering activities and a family-friendly environment, according to Ray Jr.
“We did a lot of camping as a family … and one thing me and my wife found was the kids gotta be happy,” Ray Jr. said. “If the kids aren’t happy, we’re not happy, and that’s something we based this on when we came here.”
The Crones’ hard work and dedication factor into to activities though as well. For Halloween, one of the busiest times of the year for Deer Run, they spend six weeks setting up two weekends of activities.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Ray Jr. said. “I do enjoy what I do.”
“And you meet a lot of great people,” Beverly added.
“Meeting the different people is probably the best part of the job,” Ray Jr. agreed.
For more information on Deer Run Campground, its activities and its rates, visit www.deerruncampgrounds.net.