July '19

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118 • RV PRO • July 2019 RV PRO: ALL IN THE FAMILY JULY SPECIAL SECTION T wo brothers. Two dealerships. Three generations. Although Russ Perkins, co-owner and president of Tri-Am RV Center in Bulls Gap, Tenn., and his brother "slash" treasurer, Ryan, who supervises the Ocala, Fla., location, are separated by states, family keeps the bond tight. "You have your good days and bad days," says Russ. "But with family, they're your partner. You know that their interests are the same as yours." Those shared goals began when his grandfather opened the busi- ness in 1967 originally as a supplier, building doors for the mobile home industry, which morphed in to repairing RVs in the early '70s. Ten years later, the business grew into selling and servicing. After classes, Russ would work at the dealership, eventually becoming a full-time employee upon graduating high school. "We literally did grow up in the business," he says. In 2003, the two brothers took over the dealerships. Russ notes how, when working with family, it's sometimes important to sep- arate your professional and personal life. "We may get together, one of us at either house," he says about family time. "We just have a barbecue or something and hang out away from work. More or less, you know, take time to talk about something other than work." Additionally, Russ makes sure to camp two to three times a year with his family, going into the Tennessee mountains, including a recent trip to Disney's Fort Wilderness Camp & Resort in Orlando, Fla. Put simply, that's what Russ enjoys most about RVing: "Family time." I n 1977, Youngblood's RV in Mayfield, Ky., began as a service station with one used RV. The brothers/partners behind the venture were William and Roger Youngblood, and the two would go on to create a business enterprise that includes the newly remodeled 8,000-square-foot flagship store in Mayfield, as well as two other locations (one in Missouri). "It's rewarding to work with your family and see them grow," says Tammie Youngblood, Roger's wife. "Our children work here – who are now in their 20s – and grew up in the business." That involvement stretches across the whole family, involving nieces, nephews, and children that moved into var- ious roles: service manager, human resources, parts, etc. Over time, as they all worked together, various work habits and traits came to light. "Our youngest son," she says, for instance, "was graduating high school and was very mechanically oriented, quiet and shy." It turns out, the Cape Girardeau, Mo., location needed someone tech-savvy. "So, he went over there a few days after graduating and surprised us at the initiative that he took and his work ethic. It really was a breath of fresh air and a pleasant surprise as to his capabilities." Youngblood RV has had its hardships, however. Earlier this year, William "Jerry" Youngblood passed away at age 67. The cofounder of the dealership retired in 2015, leaving the venture to Roger. But one of the great things about working with your family is that you essentially double up on all the shared life experiences. "Our three sons all have children now," says Tammie. "They're very young, but I also could see the third generation coming into it. … In this type of business, there's always something fun and surprising every day." YOUNGBLOOD'S RV SUPERCENTER THE YOUNGBLOOD FAMILY TRI-AM RV CENTER THE PERKINS FAMILY Roger Youngblood Ryan Perkins (left) and brother Russ Perkins

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