Storage Income Assists Campgrounds
Not a week goes by without news of a restrictive neighborhood RV parking ordinance, unstable fuel prices or the aging of the boomer population. Parks offering onsite storage and complementary ancillary services have found an effective and profitable way to serve not only their business but their customers and the industry as well.
In the early 90’s Malcolm, Barbara, and Greg Johnson purchased a 14-acre hay field in Townsend, Tennessee with the intention of building their dream – a family campground.
Phase one of their park project, Big Meadow Family Campground, opened in 1995 and, like all business owners, they were eager to find ways to grow. Considering their options, the Johnsons developed a storage lot and set a goal of 10 customers. “We worked very hard for the first 10 storage customers, calling on local RV dealers, posting flyers, promoting the storage business in our print ads and on our website,” said Barbara Johnson. “When we achieved our goal of 10 we looked forward to 25.”
Building relationships and trust with the local business community and their customer base has contributed to the success of their storage business. Today all 200 storage bays are taken and this line of business provides an abundance of steady income throughout the year.
Across the country in the beautiful desert town of Borrego Springs, California, Dan Wright, general manager of both The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course as well as their RoadRunner Club, a 55+ luxury golf community, provides storage options for the general public — but most users are park guests and residents of the RoadRunner Club.
The 60-spot gravel storage area opened in the mid-2000s and within four years filled to capacity. The lot is a simple storage solution for those that spend the winter in a manufactured home at the RoadRunner Club or as a start or finish to an RV trip for resort guests.
That convenience comes at a price. Wright charges more than twice what the “in-town” storage facility charges though he does offer a significant discount for a 12-month commitment.
While storage is more of a guest amenity than a significant piece of business at The Springs and the RoadRunner Club, Wright sees it as a growth opportunity and is toying with additions to the lot. “Investing in covered storage or adding indoor heated storage would certainly pay accordingly,” noted Wright.
At Pismo Coast Village RV Resort on California’s central coast, general manager Jay Jamison oversees an extensive storage business spanning 45-acres across several lots.
It’s not unusual for Jamison’s four full-time and two part-time drivers to move 90 units in a single day. While Pismo Coast Village guests are the primary focus of the business, the program encompasses storage and delivery within a 15-mile radius including Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and Oceano.
With 1,925 units currently in storage, Pismo Coast Village’s storage facilities are running at approximately 85% of capacity and are supplemented with local dealers housing excess inventory. Jamison reports a positive cash flow and anticipates paying a recent land-acquisition note ahead of schedule.
All three parks stressed the importance of providing security and safety in their storage business but approach it from different angles.
For the full story, pick up February's issue of Woodall's Campground Management.