America’s Largest RV Dealer Acquires Kentucky’s Top RV Seller.
Camping World recently announced that it was buying Big Daddy’s motorhome for a “super store”, with the transfer of ownership taking place this Thursday. This will be their third location in Kentucky – with one in Bowling Green and one in Louisville.
“We continue to seek dealer acquisitions to grow our market share,” said Marcus Lemonis, CEO and President of Camping World Holdings. “The acquisition of Big Daddy RV fills a void in our footprint and allows us to more effectively serve our customer base and is a great way for us to kick off 2022 with continued exceptional growth.”
Camping World is always looking for experienced and professional RV Sales Associates, Technicians and Retail Support to help with locations across the country. Those interested in applying for a position can visit http://www.campingworldcareers.com.
Big Daddy’s RV, located on County Farm Road, parallels Interstate 75 and is currently owned by brothers Neal and Brian Deaton. The brothers began selling utility trailers on a lot in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement in 2000. They expanded that business, dropping utility trailers and selling RVs instead. Big Daddy’s RV has been the state’s biggest RV seller for two years — an achievement the Deatons take very seriously.
But their success story has some ironic twists.
Neal decided he wanted to buy a fifth wheel and drove to Lexington to see what was available. After visiting a dealership, he was denied access to several potential units because they had already been sold and had been cleaned. Disheartened by the lack of availability of an RV at this dealership, Neal called his brother and told him to “prepare” for a road trip.
“After every motorhome I wanted to see was already sold, I called him and told him we were in the wrong business!” says Neal. “So we packed some clothes and headed to Indiana.”
“We bought 11 Dutchman caravans,” added Brian. “It just grew from there.”
In May 2018 Big Daddy’s moved to its new location on County Farm Road and has a stock of at least 200 recreational vehicles. Even during the pandemic, the Deatons have been able to keep their lot in stock — and set state records for their sales.
“Not many people realize this, but we’ve been the #1 RV seller in Kentucky for two years,” Brian said. “We sold 800 motorhomes last year. There are more motorhomes sold here in London than in Lexington or other big cities.”
Over time, the Deatons have seen many changes in RV sales. The design of RVs, for its part, has changed to have a front living room. Modern appliances such as microwaves, outdoor kitchens and patios have also changed in RV design over the years.
While many businesses have suffered from the coronavirus pandemic of the past two years, the Deatons have thrived.
“People started buying RVs,” Neal said. “I guess they were afraid to stay in hotels. And people started going out more, with hobbies like biking, boating and camping. The pandemic actually helped us.”
Both Neal and Brian said they’ve been fortunate to have good relationships with RV manufacturers during the pandemic, which has helped them stay stocked with RVs while other facets of the auto industry have suffered.
As they spend their final days in the business they started, the Deatons aren’t completely throwing in the towel to run a business or deal with the RV business.
“We’re on the next chapter,” Neal said. “We will continue to do something with RVs, but not with sales.”