Over 90 RVs gathered at Wright’s Beach in Penticton to celebrate a business that has been operating for half a century.
George Stayberg, owner of Midtown RV, was initially running car dealerships taking on Toyota products when they first started coming into Canada. However, his business grew in a different direction.
“The car business is a tough business and I was not comfortable with the way the car business works,” Stayberg said.
The dealership started selling pick-up trucks, canopy’s for those trucks and then campers were added to the mix. Eventually, Stayberg made the decision to stick to RVs.
“We were just going to have a small RV store, but it didn’t stay so small,” Stayberg said.
He said making the amount of money that car dealerships need to stay afloat, selling insurance, warranties and expensive policies wasn’t the way he wanted to conduct business.
“I couldn’t see the value in that, spending the time to get people to buy all that stuff. I didn’t believe in it. People would ask me ‘would you buy it?’ And I’d say no,” Stayberg said.
There was a different feeling around selling RVs that convinced Stayberg to focus on selling just motorhomes.
“People have to buy cars. RV customers want to buy RVs, they don’t have to. Therefore the attitude of an RV customer is very different,” Stayberg said.
It turned out to be a move that created a much healthier culture of buying and selling for him.
“We were feeling much more at home in the RV business than we were in the car business. All of our customers seemed to become our friends,” Stayberg said. “It’s sort of a family thing between our staff, our customers and so on. They all know one another.”
Midtown initially started bringing in small motorhomes, but when customers asked for bigger products, they decided to bring them in.
“We don’t decide that we want to handle this or that, our customers asked for it and we’d bring it in,” Stayberg said.
An early partnership born during in 1990s with Newmar Luxury Motorhomes has blossomed into a relationship that lead to the company hosting a rally for Midtown RV with 92 RV units in attendance at Wright’s Beach.
The owner’s club put the rally on to support Midtown’s 50th year in business in Penticton, something Stayberg wasn’t expecting.
“We never anticipated that the club would do anything that big,” Stayberg said.
Over 250 people from all over western Canada attended the rally at Wright’s Beach on Sept. 11, with support coming from those belonging to the RV owner’s club as well as Newmar employees and factory workers.
“It’s the biggest rally they ever put on,” Stayberg said. “It was a little overwhelming.”
Aside from employing 22 permanent, full-time employees, Midtown RV works with local suppliers as well.
“It’s not just the staff we’ve got here, we’re very involved with the local community,” Stayberg said. “You wouldn’t think a thing like high-end motorhomes would generate the activity that it does.”