Giant Recreation World
Still on top
Business View Magazine interviews representatives of Giant Recreation World as part of our focus on best practices in the recreational transportation sector.
Giant Recreation World is a family-owned and operated RV dealership that was founded in 1976, by Don McNamara, who built the dealership into one of the strongest operations in the state of Florida. The company has a huge selection of new and used Class A, B, and C motorhomes, travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, truck campers, and folding campers from brands like Forest River, Holiday Rambler, Keystone, Newmar, Dutchmen, Jayco, Fleetwood, Gulf Stream, and Tiffin. In addition to RV sales, the dealership offers RV financing, expert service with RIVA-certified master technicians, RV parts and accessories, and RV rentals of current year models.
Giant Recreation World’s original location was in the city of Winter Garden, and, over time, McNamara added two more locations – one in Ormond Beach and another in Melbourne. Recently, both locations were relocated to a 14-acre plot in Daytona Beach and 25-acre property in Palm Bay, allowing the company to significantly expand its footprint. The Winter Garden facility also added eight acres by acquiring a closed RV dealership next door that included frontage on Florida Route 50 so that Giant Recreation World now operates more than 14 acres of sales and service in Winter Garden, with additional service bays, a collision center, and spray-on bed lining and roof recovery systems.
This past January, founder and owner, Don McNamara, passed away and the ownership of the company has been evenly distributed to his children – Larry, Eleanor, Joseph, Scott, Paris, and Daniel. “They all hold full-time positions with Giant Recreation World, doing what they do best,” explains Larry, Company President and CEO. “I run the company and we all contribute to our success in our own capacities. For example, my sister Eleanor is our Corporate Bookkeeper; my brother Joseph is Service Manager in Palm Bay; Scott is a salesperson in Palm Bay; Paris is our Finance and Insurance Director. Dan is the Manager of our sister company, Giant Specialty Vehicles, which sells, services and rents golf cars.”
Lauren Kelly is Giant Recreation World’s new Marketing Director, recently hired with a mandate to get the word out about the company and its offerings. “I believe that we need to own our backyard and be the dealership of choice in our communities,” she explains. “Although the company has been here for 40 years, Florida gets a lot of turnover of people and new people coming into town. If they don’t drive past the dealership, or don’t know someone that owns an RV, or they are not in the lifestyle, they might not know that we’re even here. So, we’re spreading our corporate message through involvement with community events, supporting local businesses, having a presence, and interacting with our customers where they work, play, and do business.”
“We choose to participate in local events that benefit the community in some capacity or a not-for-profit organization,” Kelly continues. “We want our name associated with programs and events that are relevant and impactful to the audiences that we’re trying to reach. We want to be top of mind for people who are in the market for purchasing an RV or might be open to learning about the lifestyle. Being in front of our customers, participating in local events, and supporting our communities go a long way to building customer loyalty. We’re creating opportunities to build new markets by participating in local events and engaging with the public.
“It’s a casual atmosphere where we can educate people about RV ownership and the exclusive programs we offer to our buyers, versus waiting for people to come to the showroom or attend a trade event that is focused solely on an RV audience. We bring the concept to people who might not have considered it before. Florida has many beautiful parks and areas of interest where traveling and vacationing by RV, instead of cars and hotels, can enhance that experience. Most people tell us they didn’t know they could rent an RV to get a feel for it. And for those who do rent and fall in love with it, if they purchase an RV within 90 days, we apply their rental costs to the purchase. ”
“I feel there’s more value in those small, local, community events that we’re doing than some of the big box brands who are sponsoring big sports teams,” McNamara adds. “I don’t think there is as much of a benefit in doing them as what we’re doing with these smaller organizations that actually need help.”
McNamara reports that with a strong economy, the RV business has been good and that Giant Recreation World is poised to sell 1,200 new units, this year, which is the largest portion of the business. “Second would be parts and service,” he notes. “Third would be finance and insurance; and last would be the rentals. We’re still on an upward trend, and we’re on scale, this year, to break the hundred-million-dollar mark in sales.”
With the good times rolling, the company now has approximately 160 employees amongst its three locations. “We employ a large number of Florida residents and our tenure is good,” says Kelly. “We have people who have been here ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty years. We have some people who started as kids, washing RVs, and now they’re back with college degrees and holding important positions. The culture is friendly and we’re always looking for good people to join us.”
Going forward, McNamara stresses that the company will continue to work hard at keeping its customer service positive. “Anyone can pick up the phone and call me at any time; plus my email address is on the front page of our website,” he states. “I ask people to contact me if there is any type of problem. I send out a postage paid return survey card to every customer that purchases an RV from us or has service work done at Giant Recreation World. My mailbox is consistently full of reply cards, which I use for continuous training and improving. Since I started doing this, our customer satisfaction rate has gone to the high 90s. I am proud that we have over 45,000 happy, local customers who call Giant Recreation World their hometown RV dealer. We received the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Award in 2017 and were recently notified of our nomination for the award again for 2018. We also received the 2018 Dealer of the Year Award for Recreational Vehicles from DealerRater as well as the 2018 Customer Satisfaction Award. We’re very excited about the future, and we see consistent growth in our industry. Our employees and our customers are very loyal – and that is why we continue to grow and remain on top.”
Check out this handpicked feature on Long View RV Superstore – Through good times and bad.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Giant Recreation World
WHAT: A family-owned and operated RV dealership
WHERE: Winter Garden, Florida
Textron Specialized Vehicles – www.tsvdealer.com
Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Textron Inc. one of the world’s best known multi-industry companies, with a global network of aircraft, defense, industrial, and finance businesses. What began as a small New England business in 1923 has grown into a $14.2 billion company, with a worldwide presence supported by 35,000 people in more than 25 countries. Throughout its history, Textron has been the source of ground-breaking technologies and numerous industry-firsts. Many major steps in the evolution of aircraft, rotorcraft, armored vehicles, electrical vehicles, and automotive systems have emerged from its product development labs. The company’s Specialized Vehicle division offers brands such as Arctic Cat snowmobiles, Textron Off Road ATVs, and E-Z-GO golf, utility, and personal transportation vehicles.