May '21

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40 • RV PRO • May 2021 rv-pro.com "We'd like to have more used, but we're not near an auction, so there's really no way for us to find them, other than drive around and contact people. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are upside down, so it's kind of hard to solicit them," she says. Butler recently asked her sales manager if the dealership was being too conservative on used trade appraisals, but the logs revealed there simply aren't many people bringing them into deals like the business had in the past. Branching Out on Inventory, Advertising As for brands, Setzer's was once exclusively a Keystone deal- ership, but inventory shortages have forced Butler to bring on Forest River's Salem and Salem FSX lines. In addition, as Key- stone doesn't make pop-ups, Setzer's offers Flagstaff models, also built by Forest River. Setzer's needed non-slide bunkhouses, too, so Gulfstream's Ameri-Lite and Conquest products were added to the mix. About 70 percent of the store's customers hail from West Virginia, while the remainder come from nearby Ohio and Ken- tucky. Although coal and steel employment in the Mountain State has drastically been reduced, Huntington's economic base has diversified in recent years, and Butler says her customers are either retired or work in the medical industry. Butler has diversified, too, and most of the ad dollars she once spent on TV spots now go to digital channels, where her commercials now are seen on Setzer's Facebook page, including one with Butler in bedclothes to promote the store's PJ RV Sale. "I made that two years ago because it kept snowing every weekend, so we didn't have customers. I really do feel that we have a good website. We have someone who takes really good care of it and what people are doing anyway is going to the website," she says. "We didn't run that video last year, but we did this year, as it seemed like it was the same bad weather, and I've gotten more comments this time than I did the first time." What hasn't changed for Butler and her staff of 18 is their winter holiday schedule. "We actually close from Thanksgiving through the following weekend because it just lets us take a breath," she says, "then in December, we close the week before Christmas and then reopen and sell a few that last week of December. "We've always tried to have a sale the week after Christmas because at least one of our competitors is closed and people believe that they're going to get a really good deal. It's true. There's been a lot of years when I needed one more deal to make my year what I wanted it to be, so I do want any deal we can get that week to add to the year." Even before COVID-19 came into the picture, Butler refused to do seasonal layoffs, a not-unusual necessity for some dealers with little business in colder climes. "It's so hard to get somebody trained if you lay them off in the winter," she says. "Talking about Christmas, there's dealers that make you take one week of your vacation that particular week, but we don't. When I choose to close, that's not my employees' choice, so we do pay them." Making the Most of Things Setzer's parts and service staff consists of a parts manager, a service writer, a service manager, four techs and a warranty clerk. Of the store's roughly $8 million in sales revenue last year, about 12 percent came from the two departments, a healthy percentage considering the facility limitations. There are only a trio of bays and parts are stored in two smaller buildings. "Our offices, our parts department and our service counter are in a great big brick house. We're a little limited in space as far as parts. We are on Interstate 64, but you can't see us once you get off it," Butler says. "We don't get drive-by traffic." About 70 percent of Setzer's customers hail from West Virginia, while the remainder come from nearby Ohio and Kentucky. Service Manager Matt Parsons stands ready to assist customers. Setzer's is very much a family-owned and operated business.

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