ST. GEORGE – Roger Nuttall, the sitting president of Camping World, the nation’s largest Recreational Vehicle and outdoor retailer, couldn’t be more enthusiastic about a new store opening. Native to St. George, Nuttall said “I’m a Southern Utah boy! I went to elementary, jr. high, high school here, then to Dixie College.”
After attending Dixie College, Nuttall left the area to pursue further education. He met his wife, lived in Salt Lake City and worked for a dealership that was later acquired by Camping World. In 2003, Nuttall moved to Chicago to take the position of chief financial officer of the company at its headquarters. In Jan. 2010 he graduated to the position of president over Camping World’s Recreational Vehicle Sales.
“This is truly a dream for me to come home and put a dealership here where I’m from,” Nuttall said, “it’s a good warm fuzzy feeling that I’m able to do this.”
The new retail location will be officially named “Camping World of St. George.” It will be located at 1500 S Hilton Drive (in the facilities formerly used by the Painters RV business), just off I-15 at exit 6. It will encompass both a Camping World retail store and Camping World RV Sales dealership.
“[Jim] Painter owns the property here. We entered into a long-term lease (approximately 20 years), and purchased his inventory and,” Nuttall said, “he went home. We didn’t really buy his business but we bought his assets and entered into … [the] lease. Mr. Painter is an older gentleman, he had a presence here for a long time, and this is a great opportunity for him to get out of the business and enjoy some of his wealth in the form of a rent payment.”
Nuttall said that this Camping World would have an offering of products on the RV side that is unparalleled in this area – south of Salt Lake City and north of Vegas. “We will have an inventory of about 100-plus units, and we’ll invest nearly $4 million in the inventory. This [location, under its predecessor business] has never had more than $6-700,000 in inventory,” he said. “So it’s going to be a significantly different product offering than what [has been] seen before in this area.”
The typical Camping World store will have RV rentals, a warranty service, and regular service for customers. “We sell the very best and most popular RVs, the RVs are two classes: ‘Towables’ (travel trailers and 5th wheels); and motor homes – Winnebago Itasca brand – and we’ll carry the Keystone lines of products manufactured by Thor Industries.”
The center will also offer parts and accessories, and Nuttall said that it would carry over 8,000 products for RVs and Campers.
But one of the nicest things Camping World of St. George will be offering is eight full-service bays – service and collision centers – to help people with service, repair and maintenance of their units. “Whether or not they bought from us,” Nuttall said, “we will be able to service their RVs all the way from the high line down to the towables.”
Camping World of St. George will be a full service outlet. “We offer financing and we work with some of the largest and best banks in the nation, great wonderful programs, and if need be local credit unions. FULL SERVICE!” Nuttall said. “We’ll take them from beginning to end, finance, insurance, all of their needs.”
The Southern Utah boy, father of six children and grandfather to another 14 children, who now serves as President of a company that is the largest RV retailer nationwide, overflowed wholeheartedly. He said “we are excited for the opportunities we will contribute to this historic city of St. George.” Nuttall’s contributions to St. George have been and are many, he also serves as a member of the National Advisory Committee for Dixie State College.
One of the significant contributions he and his company will make, through the opening of this store, is employment of people in this community. The store will employ about 30 employees. Employment information and application process is available at Camping World’s online job site. Or interested applicants may visit the general manager, Pete Bowden, at the retail location.
RVing is a fun industry, Nuttall said. It is something people buy that they want. Despite the challenges to the economy in recent years, Nuttall said that his company will sell over 35,000 RVs in total this year, which is significantly more than Camping World was selling in 2009, 10 and 11. “We expect as well or better,” he said. “We’ve added 12 new stores nationwide in the last six months – that includes a couple that are under construction.”
Camping World also provides expanded products and services to enhance and protect the RV lifestyle. This includes: the President’s Club customer loyalty program; in-store Performance Centers like the Tow Center of America, campground reservations, Banking and Insurance, RV tours, Service and Collision centers, Detail and Refurbishment centers known as the RV SPA, Highways Magazine. Camping World is the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR. More details on these may be found on the Camping World website.
“We feel very upbeat. We have had good results, good market presence, the market seems to be very solid for the RV buyer,” Nuttall said, with a commitment to positively benefit the Southern Utah community.
Judging from the number of people who have already been knocking on its doors, Nuttall anticipates a really Grand opening. Camping World of St. George’s Grand Opening will be held April 1, 2012.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.