April '20

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18 • RV PRO • April 2020 rv-pro.com When was the last time you made lifelong friends in a hotel? It just doesn't happen. It happens all the time in state parks and camp- grounds and camping destinations and such. And RV service centers," he snickers after being prompted by Helen to add that part. "Our customer database is literally nationwide. We do have people that are full-timers and there are a bunch of them that plan their annual travels around coming to Scott, La., starting to get their annual RV services done. To me, that's nuts. It's just a level of trust that they have developed in us and we've made so many friends in this business that go clear back to the '90s." Surviving the Bumps Thibodeaux's network, his commitment to helping people and his general likeability have made a lot of difference, causing his business to succeed where others may have failed during some of those tough times over the past 15 years. Especially tough were the years after the BP oil spill, when many well-paid oil workers lost their jobs and had to leave Louisiana to find work elsewhere. Customers were fewer when it came to general service, and even fewer when it came to add-ons and the kind of premium work in which Thibodeaux specializes. Nevertheless, he says that, while his business was hurt, he survived those days to come back strong. He says many similar businesses, such as those servicing the marine industry, haven't been as fortunate and haven't been able to find quality techni- cians – many of whom left when the technician jobs in the oil industry dried up. Above: Thibodeaux measures a replacement part in his shop that is destined to be installed on a motorhome. Right: Lander and Boulee look over some online part-order forms.

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