February '19

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rv-pro.com February 2019 • RV PRO • 25 business as fast as things were beginning to turn," Pickard says. Soon, the Pickards saw lines of credit evaporating and an influx of customers returning their units due to their inability to pay their balances. "The problem was that it wasn't only one sector of the finance industry that we saw close down. You can survive if you have only one or two sectors affected – but if every sector is suffering, you have nowhere to go," Pickard says. The decision to lay off employees weighed heavily on the Pickards. "I stopped sleeping nights for weeks in a row," says Pickard, "thinking about how to keep our people employed. But, we had no revenue or options to improve our current situation." One reason the decision to downsize was so challenging for the couple is that they had always operated their business con- servatively, according to Pickard. "We had set aside a great deal of cash," he says. "We had a lot of equity and didn't have much debt, other than a floorplan." Dealers struggled considerably in Georgia, where the deal- ership base dwindled from more than 60 stores in 2008 to just 16 in the beginning of 2011, according to Pickard. Meanwhile, Georgia faced among the largest number of bank closures in the country during the Recession – making it especially challenging for business owners to access needed capital. To stay afloat, the Pickards began reaching out to friends, manufacturers and to their flooring company, GE CDF. "Especially with GE – once they saw that Tina and I were committed to the long-term success of our business, they were able to align some of their programs to help us continue and weather the storm," Pickard says. "We were also able to get funding from independent investors." In the years that have followed the Recession, Pickard says Mid- State maintained its focus on what he calls the three "P's": people, processes and product. That meant keeping seasoned leaders in place at the dealership, ensuring his team's continued ability to offer the best finance and insurance products, and meeting high standards in parts and service. Thanks to following that strategy, Pickard says Mid-State has grown and prospered in recent years. It now employs 79 staff members and is again earning $40 million in annual revenue. "This industry is a great industry," Pickard says. "Just like with any business, you have to believe in it, and you have to be HEADQUARTERS 6855 HERMOSA CIRCLE BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA 90622 MIDWEST MANUFACTURING 1642 GATEWAY COURT ELKHART, INDIANA 46514 WWW.TRIMLOK.COM INFO@TRIMLOK.COM IF YOU HAVE AN EDGE… WE HAVE A TRIM! 800 -405-2966 Same Day Shipping on Thousands of Parts CALL US TODAY! FREE SAMPLES Test Our Trims and Seals for Fit and Function FREE CATALOG Quickly View Our Most Popular Lines of Trims and Seals DESIGN ASSISTANCE Let Us Help you Find the Right Trim and Seal

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