Saukville store offers equipment, services to outdoor enthusiasts
The doors to Camping World of Saukville at 800 E. Green Bay Ave. opened two weeks ago and a formal grand opening is planned for May 15, but the 30,000-square-foot retail building is already drawing crowds.
“Business has been very good. People are very curious to learn what we are all about,” store general manager Bruce Shecterle said.
The building on the 15-acre site is the new prototype for stores being built by the nationwide chain. With the Saukville outlet, Camping World — the nation’s largest RV and camping retailer — now has nearly 100 locations around the country.
The chain offers a roadside assistance program called the Good Sam Club that also helps camping enthusiasts find campsites during trips.
As part of that service, road-weary campers are invited to spend the night in the store’s secured parking lot, although extended-stay camping facilities are not available at the site.
The retail portion of the building offers more than 8,000 items used in campers or for outdoor recreation.
But what catches most people’s attention is the sprawling parking lot that can hold as many as 200 new and used campers.
The used equipment is taken as trades or sold through consignment arrangements with the store.
New camper prices range from basic pop-up campers that cost less than $10,000 to Class A motor homes mounted on truck chassis that cost more than $100,000.
“We are talking about vehicles that have all of the amenities of a luxury condominium,” Shecterle said.
“Our goal is to sell 700 campers this first year and grow that volume to 1,000 a year.”
A large part of the business will be servicing campers and motor homes.
“In addition to the kinds of things you find in any automobile service department, we also have to provide carpenter service, plumbing, electrical service and metal fabrication,” Shecterle said. “We have to be able to provide pretty much everything you have in your home, but it is all on a moving platform.”
A local job fair for the store was held earlier in the year, attracting more than 300 applicants. From the field, 52 employees were hired — most from Ozaukee County.
“That sensitivity to supporting the community also came into play during construction, where we made a point of using local suppliers and contractors as much as possible,” Shecterle said.
Shecterle came to Camping World after a career at an auto dealership. He said the position is a fresh start for him, as well as the entire team.
“Camping World approached me because I know how to run a dealership, but the way I look at it this business is something I will be learning along with the entire team that works here,” he said.
The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Camping World was founded in 1966. Company chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis is a graduate of Marquette University who targeted Ozaukee County for the chain’s newest store.
“Our goals as a company are to identify locations where we can best serve the needs of RV enthusiasts, and this location is a great fit for the entire eastern Wisconsin community,” Lemonis said when the site was announced.