Officials confident RV retailer will bring new business to community
Camping World promises to be a big-time player on the commercial landscape in the Village of Saukville when its 28,000-square-foot retail center opens next year.
Last week, the village Plan Commission gave its unanimous endorsement to the store, which will be built on the 9-acre parcel at the northeast corner of the I-43 and Highway 33 intersection.
The site is immediately west of the Pick ‘n Save grocery store, alongside the northbound on-ramp to I-43.
Although new to Ozaukee County, Camping World is the country’s largest direct marketer and specialty retailer of recreational vehicles and camping accessories.
The company traces its roots to its first store in Bowling Green, Ky., which opened in 1966.
Since then, the chain has grown to include 95 locations in 32 states. Its closest store is in DeForest, outside of Madison, with other Midwestern sites in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Island Lake, Ill.
The company’s corporate headquarters are now in Lincolnshire, Ill.
Camping World provides a full spectrum of gear for the outdoor enthusiast, which developer Kimberly Penfold, president of Siren Partners, said makes it a shopping destination for those who love camping.
“The company offers sales and service for everything from the little pop-up campers to 40-foot motor coaches worth well over $100,000 and everything you need to keep them running,” Penfold said.
The retail outlets carry top-of-the-line equipment and vehicles from such vendors as Thor Motor Coach, Keystone RV Co., Heartland, Jayco, Coleman, Forest River, Dutchmen, Winnebago, Crossroads, Fleetwood, Itasca, Starcraft, Coachmen, Viking and Four Winds.
A large portion of the new site will be devoted to new and used trailers and motor homes, including rentals. The vehicles will be kept in a sprawling parking area that will surround the store.
Specialized service for RVs will be available at the store, which Penfold said will bring plenty of vacationers to Saukville on their way to or from Door County and northern Wisconsin.
As part of that service to RV users, the new location will include a dump station where vehicle owners can empty their septic systems.
The company has also developed a nationwide support organization for RV fans called the Good Sam Club.
For a nominal annual fee, members receive discounts on merchandise and access to a wealth of technical tips and updated travel information. The club works with more than 2,000 RV chapters around the country.
Village President Barb Dickmann spoke effusively about the company and what it will mean for the community.
“The best part of Camping World coming here is that it will bring new business to the community, not take away from companies already doing business here,” Dickmann said.
Noting the company’s renown drawing power, Dickmann she is optimistic the arrival of Camping World will result in the development of related businesses catering to outdoor-minded customers.
Ground is expected to be broken on the building this summer, with opening anticipated by next spring.
Even before the doors open, Penfold said, the project is likely to be a shot in the arm of local tradesmen.
“The construction will be bid locally with a local general contractor selected, and preference will be given to local sub-contractors and locally sourced building materials,” Penfold said.
“The combination of the Village of Saukville’s business friendly environment, the exposure and access to I-43 coupled with the existing lack of services tailored to camping and RV supplies and services have come together to make this an exciting opportunity.”
There will be space for approximately 300 RVs within the fenced area, and the rolling stock will change every six month.
The store will have as many as 60 employees, with base salaries in the range of $25 an hour. Because the store deals in high-end RVs, officials said top salespeople can make salaries of $100,000.