People tired of being cooped up due to the pandemic have hit the open road in RV’s (recreational vehicles consisting of motorhomes, campervans, camper trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, popup campers, and truck campers) trying to find a safe way to vacation in the United States. The appeal of getting away from restrictions by taking loved ones to scenic areas filled with the splendor of nature has produced a boom in the RV market within the past year.
In July of 2020, the RV Industry Association claimed more than 40,000 RV’s were shipped to customers in June of 2020. This was a ten percent increase compared to the same month in 2019. RV dealers were also reporting that between 50-80 percent of travelers purchasing the vehicles were doing so for the first time, per KEYT.com. Motivations for these numbers can be found in people not wanting to fly or stay in a hotel. Instead, they could cook their own meals and sleep in their own bed within an RV.
New RV owners will inevitably need storage, maintenance, and resale assistance solutions for their purchase. The I-70 eastbound corridor near the Grain Valley exit is ripe with RV dealers. Joining that market is JE Cornwell, owner and president of KCRVS. Located at 148 NE McQueery Rd in Grain Valley, Cornwell took over the property next to Matthews Elementary on February 1st. The frozen ground due to the inclement weather in late winter has made the move to Grain Valley challenging at times. However, KCRVS has found success with approximately 15 RV’s that are on the lot and 6 more arriving by mid-March.
One of the first items of business for Cornwell has been having a grader drop fresh gravel on the lot and level it so that close to three of the five acres making up the property could be used immediately. Plans are underway for remodeling of the office and mechanical shed so that a grand opening to the public can happen sometime in April. In the meantime, Cornwell is promoting other parts of his business that include new model off road campers at the Open Season Sportsman Expo in Overland Park, Kansas from March 12th through March 14th.
Cornwell also owns AMPR LLC which provides financing services for autos, marine, powersports, and RV’s. Networking through 26 years in the finance business has led to Cornwell’s entrance into the RV consignment and storage market over the last 5 years. The original location of Cornwell’s RV consignment business was in Grandview, Missouri. A meeting by chance led to the move to Grain Valley.
“COVID-19 had shut us down at our Grandview location for 101 days due to us being considered non-essential. We reopened the business at the end of June in 2020 to find a chokehold on the inventory of RV’s. Camping World, Jayco, and Olathe RV started running ads on consigning your RV with them. The year prior they did not want anything to do with that market,” Cornwell said.
“It did, however, bring the idea and term of ‘closed consignment’ to the forefront for the public. We have benefited from the public exposure that has brought.”
Cornwell continued, “Grain Valley was not initially on my radar (as a spot for this business). The previous owner of this property had operated Country Campers and been here since 1993. They drove by our business in Grandview and noticed how full our lot was in leading them to stop and start a conversation with me. We were eventually able to negotiate a price that worked for both us and here we are.”
The motivation for being in the consignment RV business is that it provides an alternative for the owner in taking the RV to auction, as well as providing a cheaper price to a potential buyer to depreciation. Making the marriage work between finding a good price for both the buyer and seller is what makes the consignment market work in the eyes of Cornwell.
“Depreciation is a key word. New car values drop 15 to 20% when you drive it off the lot. RV’s are around 25%. If you can come here and find a 2018 or 2019 used model that has been well maintained, with them only being used part time typically, it can be a savvy option with a big price difference in what we offer.”
“We have campers on this lot that are over $200,000. We also have fifth-wheels that are $150,000. People typically need financing when you are dealing with that price range. We can support them with that as well as storage of their RV and maintenance.”
Cornwell concluded, “My first week here I filled out three applications for Grain Valley, Blue Springs, and Lee’s Summit Chambers of Commerce. This is a community based business. I want to build a relationship with customers as someone who wants to be a part of the Grain Valley community. We are glad to be here and feel this will be a huge success for us. We definitely have room to grow (due to the size of our 5 acre lot).”
KCRVS can be reached by phone at 816-800-6100 or online at www.kcrvs.com.