May '16

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rv-pro.com MAY 2016 • RV PRO • 57 ship and began to build a new corporate headquarters and main store in Las Vegas. With those projects still under way, this year is shaping up to be even bigger. Wagon Trail is poised for further expansion across the United States and likely will open a new dealership in a major market in just a few months, says John Chelist, Wagon Trail's general manager. Those are pretty big steps. Then you can add Wagon Trail's roll out of the once-legendary Chinook brand this year, a huge undertaking of its own. Rights to that nameplate as well as the intellectual property were acquired in January 2013 by Rizzio. Redesigned models manufactured in Indiana are just now hitting the market. "Here we come," Chelist says. Growing and Moving "Last year was really crazy for us," he says. "We were purchasing another dealer- ship, we were moving one dealership and building another and starting on the Chi- nook, all at the same time. It has been a very, very exciting time." The pending move and expansion to a site on the well-traveled Sunset Boulevard in Las Vegas is key to the dealership's plans to become a major player in the industry. Today, Wagon Trail shares offices with other businesses tucked away among build- ings a couple blocks away from Sunset, and the showroom is a pair of warehouses and the great outdoors. Technicians work on RVs outside and in the dealership's small bay area. It's packed. And it's hard to find, Chelist says. There's nothing that stands out – no large signs or a lot brimming with RVs – to let customers know that this is an RV dealer that ranks No. 1 in the nation in sales of Leisure Travel Class B's. Instead, under the glare of incandes- cent lights, the vans are jammed into the warehouses so tightly that it is difficult to walk between them. It's not exactly a good environment for peak sales. "We have managed to work out of the warehouses, which has been good in the sense that in the summer when it is really hot here, we are in an air-conditioned show- room," Chelist says. "Our disadvantage, though, is that customers have a hard time

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