Excelling in the RV industry through tumultuous times
The owner of Pik-A-Dilly RV Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, shares his thoughts on everything from pandemic challenges to changes in modern camping trends
Ryan Main is proud to be following the family tradition, marking the third generation to own and operate Pik-A-Dilly RV Centre in Brandon. With public health challenges having an effect on travel and business alike, we wanted to chat with Main about his company and the industry in general. He took the time to answer our questions:
How did Pik-A-Dilly RV Centre get started?
Pik-A-Dilly RV Centre was started by my paternal grandparents in 1962 when my grandfather took a chance and started to offer small campers off of his B/A gas station/service garage lot here in Brandon, Manitoba. It’s moved locations twice since then to our current location on the Trans-Canada Highway.
How long has your family been in the RV industry?
My family has been in the industry for 60 years as of 2022. As mentioned, my grandparents started the company and my father, Don, eventually purchased the business from them in the late ‘70s. We finalized our purchase agreement just a few years back. We’re very proud of the fact that we are entering a third generation of Mains at the helm of the dealership and even have a few customers who have had the pleasure of purchasing trailers from all three generations over the years!
What changes have you observed in recent years?
Everything is getting bigger! More people are making seasonal camping their getaway for the summer months, to the extent that many don’t even own tow vehicles. When they purchase, we haul their camper to their seasonal site and get them set up to enjoy.
From there they just have to jump in the car and drive out to the camper, no different than heading to the lake. Technology has increased greatly in an RV, to the point where they really are a home away from home. You have every amenity available to you in your RV that you would have at home in your residence, it’s what spurred the term ‘glamping’!
The ‘roughing it’ term doesn’t so much apply to the RV industry anymore! The RV Care network of dealers across Canada has really taken off in the last few years and become a desired membership among campers who travel often as it offers them priority ‘at home service’ while on the road as well as discounts on parts at any RV Care dealership in the country. The dealerships who are members are actively recruited based on reputation and spread out across the country so there aren’t multiple dealers in competing markets. That has been a big industry change in my time that continues to expand and grow its offering to customers….and, yes, we are a member!
What challenges have you overcome?
That’s a good question…I suppose the biggest challenge I’ve overseen in my time at ‘the helm’ would be navigating the supply shortages that have been a result of the worldwide pandemic we’re in currently.
Pricing is all over the map as commodities and materials bounce all over the place in their costs, as well as the shortages that have come from not having enough workers able/willing to work in various factories/plants all around the world.
Some of that is due to spacing restrictions and how close workers can be to each other, and some of it is people’s comfort level with being in a public setting and choosing to not return to their jobs at the present time. Though most of these issues are not specific to the RV industry, it is arguably the largest challenge that we’ve had to overcome and it continues to change and evolve daily. Beyond that, our biggest challenges stem from dealing with currency exchange fluctuations to the Canadian winters when bringing inventory in for the coming spring season!
What are you most excited about doing in the future?
I’m very much looking forward to the day when my family can take the proper time to hook up an RV and take the kids exploring across some of the beautiful landscape that we hear about from our customers and friends throughout the years. We always get asked what/how we camp ourselves, but being that summer is our busy season, I’m generally here every day and getting more than a day or two here and there is difficult. Aside from that, the day our kids want to come in and work for the company will be a big day for my wife and I as well.
What is your favourite Canadian RV destination?
Our favorite destination (and, remember we have been limited thus far) as a family has to be Drumheller, Alberta. We met up with some of my wife’s family and stayed a few nights at the Dinosaur RV Park and had an absolute blast. The kids were the perfect age for all of the dinosaur-related activities, plus the campground had plenty of entertainment for all ages including mini-golf, arcade and playground to name a few. Being that we are in the RV industry, anytime we are travelling by vehicle, we are always taking note of campgrounds we pass and making our list of places we need to see one of these days!