February '20

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28 • RV PRO • February 2020 rv-pro.com tell us they trust us to be honest and fair with them. We always try to live up to that. I wish everyone did the same." That customer-centric approach is one of the only things that has stayed the same in the more than two decades since Affordable RV Rentals opened. Ever evolving technology in RVs has kept the dealer- ship on its toes, as has the emergence of online retail and social media. "Obviously, the internet has changed everything – good, bad or indifferent," Lemke says. "Online reviews. Competitive pricing. It's a lot. How we address it is we compete where we can and bow out when we can't. You'll always have someone who says they can find something for cheaper online, but is Amazon going to stand behind that product? We will. "Some of that you really can't fight, so we don't waste our time," he adds. "If you can get a customer in the door and show them a positive first experience, you'll get a second crack." The RV business has always been one based on relationships, particularly for those who are working where they grew up. "This is the town I grew up in and this is my community," says Lemke. "So, it's a little different than in a bigger city. That's pretty cool. We sponsor a lot of local Little Leagues, the two high schools, all of that. Giving back to the community is something we can do because we've been blessed. It's all positive." At the end of the day, making (and keeping) customers happy is what Lemke says he loves about the RV business he grew up in. "Having come up in this industry, the one thing I've always loved the most is that we're in the business of making people happy," he says. "RVs are toys for grown-ups. The customers become friends, show you pictures of their trips, all of that. It's more personal than just looking at numbers. The customers typ- ically have expendable income and this is how they're choosing to spend it, which draws a certain type of person. "When I see people, they're generally very happy, having a good time," Lemke says. "This is an industry for fun." Jay Brown, a painter at Affordable RV, works on a customer's motorhome. Affordable RV has its own paint and body shop, which comes in handy when repairing any damage to the company's rental fleet. Shawn Pope, a detailer with Affordable RV, cleans a trailer on the sales lot. RJ Lemke (right) chats with service tech Keegan Black about the status of a repair to a slide-out floor on a customer's motorhome. Lemke can just as often be found in the service department turning a wrench as he can in the business office assisting customers.

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