February '19

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rv-pro.com February 2019 • RV PRO • 29 "My older brother is a retired colonel in the Army and he had just bought a house in Ruskin, Fla., and asked if June and I wouldn't consider coming down to live in it – rent free – until he was ready to retire there," says Anklin, with a chuckle as he recalls his near instant response: "Uh … OK! "We fell in love with the place and I quickly transferred to a Camping World in the area, but I was still commuting an hour each way and wasn't that happy. At one point, they made a policy change that insisted that techs stay until 6 p.m. and that meant I'd have been on the road early every day and not getting home until 7 p.m. each night. That just wasn't working for me anymore." That was the breaking point for Anklin. Working for someone else – and by their rules – just wasn't cutting it. And now living rent free in his brother's house, he saw an opening – and took it. "I went home that night and talked to June, and by the time we went to bed, Drew's RV Techs, which was completely focused on mobile service and repair, was formed," he says, noting that he began his entrepreneurial venture with "nothing but a Ford Taurus and half of a garage." Old School Hustle While things may not have been quite so dire as that may sound – he did, after all, have 25 years of experience and an RVIA tech certification to build upon – Anklin set out from those modest beginnings to build his business, with wife, June, by his side every step of the way. "It was tough those first two or three years," Anklin says. "But we just hustled. We drove around in the Taurus and if there was a camper in the driveway, we'd leave a card. Then we went to all the campgrounds in the area and put our cards on the corkboard message boards. Then we met with the folks running the RV parts store in the area and they started referring repair work our way. "It wasn't long until the phone started to ring." And it wasn't long after that the couple started converting those calls into repair jobs for the fledgling operation. And a modest physical space was soon to follow. "We got our first physical location almost by accident," Anklin says. "We would always stop by dealers that had rental units and one ultimately hired me on what was basically a monthly retainer to do repair work for his customers: $1,200 Left: Drew Anklin is a rarity in the RV industry – a dealership owner who worked his way up through the business world as a technician. After being employed by others – and having to work under their rules his whole career – he jumped at the chance to start Drew's RV Techs. Anklin helps customer Tom Pyper find the right part in the shop at Drew's RV Techs in Ruskin, Fla. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY PAMELA VASQUEZ

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