March '20

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84 • RV PRO • March 2020 rv-pro.com RV D E A L E R S M i c h i g a n - b a s e d a n d f a m i - ly-owned General RV Center recently opened a new RV supercenter facility in Ashland, Va., which is now one of the company's 13 locations across the country. The dealership's secret sauce for expan- sion and success? It's knowing there is no secret sauce, per se – success requires sweat equity and a cul- ture that spurs continuous improvement. "It's an employee-driven company, led by President Loren Baidas and CEO Rob Baidas," says Ashland's general manager, Ed McNamara, who has been in the RV industry for 43 years. "It's what attracted me to the organization. It's the largest family-owned RV business and remains a very strong family-orientated one that runs on its values." Those values include its vision of being a "premier RV partner" for manufacturers, suppliers and customers without having one partner dictate to another, according to McNamara. "Size isn't as important to General RV as it is to other businesses," he says. "We just want to be a very large partner in the industry." In total, General RV Centers employs about 1,800 people, carries inventory of roughly 5,000 RVs and features 500 ser- vice bays. It's a remarkable accomplish- ment for a business that started humbly in 1962, with founder Abe Baidas operating from a gas station in Detroit. The new store recently moved from a temporary facility in Richmond, Va., where it had realized $60 million in rev- enues in 2018 during its first year as the Ashland facility was being built, according to Loren Baidas. The store increased its revenues to $80 million in 2019. McNamara declined to project reve- nues for the Ashland Supercenter in 2020. However, he ventures that General RV will be one of the largest dealerships in the Mid-Atlantic region, as it's located along the Route 95 corridor, halfway between Canada and Florida, and can serve a 250- mile radius. "We're in a sweet spot, with 48 per- cent of the country's population within a 10-hour drive. If it wasn't for the Baidas' family decision to come to Ashland and build this facility then none of this would've happened. They put a lot of faith in our people and the area." The dealership, which sits on 50 acres, has 40 service bays and a large retail store The dealership's newest location in Virginia will enable it to serve the entire Mid-Atlantic market. The company sees its 'Keep You Camping' initiative as giving it a competitive advantage. By Rob Merwin General RV Gains General RV Gains Commanding Ground Commanding Ground

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