By Louis Llovio
The owner of The Motorcoach Store in Bradenton, Fla., is moving to a just-purchased industrial property that will allow the dealership to expand from 18,300 square feet to 139,904 square feet.
Remodeling is already underway with the service department open and the administrative staff close to moving into new offices. The new location allows the dealership to build storage for 88 luxury motorcoaches and launch a concierge service. But the project could take as long as a year to complete as the dealership deals with red tape and the realities of construction.
When Bradley Twait sold his company CertiFleet 15 years ago, he knew just sitting around enjoying the spoils wasn’t going to be an option. He was nearly 40 then and still driven.
So, 13 years ago, about two years after settling in Anna Maria Island, Twait did what entrepreneurs have done since time immemorial. He combined his passion, a love for the recreational vehicle lifestyle, and his capitalist know-how to open The Motorcoach Store, a luxury RV dealership in Bradenton.
And now, after buying an industrial site in the city for $18.3 million, he is set to grow the dealership more than sevenfold. The new facility is a 139,904-square-foot property at 5821 24th St. E. that has a 100,000-square-foot production area and 7,500 square feet of office space. It was previously owned by Avon Cabinet Corp., which has closed its current operation.
The plan is to convert the building into a full-service luxury RV dealership that will include 16 service bays and indoor storage space for 88 luxury RVs. The space will also have in-house cabinet, upholstery and glass shops.
The Motorcoach Store bought the property at 5821 24th St. E. and plans a multimillion renovation that will include 16 service bays and indoor storage space for 88 luxury RVs.
Twait, 52, intends to turn it into a national headquarters for the company and to use the move to launch a concierge service.
“I was a passionate RVer and saw there was a need for this type of facility,” he says. “And, you know, through years of growing and developing and planning, here’s where we find ourselves finally.”
Twait says the company has partially moved into the new location, with the service department working out of 30% of the building while the rest is being renovated. The office space is currently being remodeled and the administrative staff will move when the work is complete.
Twait would not disclose sales or revenue figures. The dealership currently has 25 employees, which will grow during the expansion.
In all, he expects the project to take about a year to complete but the timeline may be fluid because he is at “at the mercy of government permitting and the building trades.“The property is designed exactly the way that I dreamt of finding for my facility since the inception of my dealership 13 years ago. The layout, the size, the building. Everything was just perfect for what I’m looking to do.”
What he’s looking to do is more than just a multimillion-dollar renovation. Twait wants to create an experience for RV enthusiasts by starting The Motorcoach Club, a concierge service that gives members from across the country access to VIP appointments and a valet service that will pick up RVs anywhere in the country and bring them to Bradenton for storage and service. The company will then deliver the RV anywhere when the owner is ready.
While The Motorcoach Store deals in the larger units, buses really, that run from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than a million, Twait says the service department will work on any vehicle. And that’s important because he believes the RV world is a classless society where the passion for the lifestyle makes everyone equal.
“When you get out there, in a campground or RV resort, nobody cares what kind of unit you have. There can be people in tents or travel trailers all the way up to $3 million motorcoaches and everything in between.”
In fact, while most of the public sees RVing as either a unique way to vacation or a way for those who can afford it to travel the country after retirement, a 2022 survey by Progressive Insurance found that the largest group of RVers is between 35 years old and 54 years old — 32% between the ages of 35 and 44; 20% between the ages of 45 and 54. People over 65 years of age made up 18% of RVers.
A large part of this is because of a shift to remote work after the pandemic. And in this, Twait was ahead of his time. His love for the RV lifestyle goes back to his childhood in Chicago. His father, Mark, was a John Deere dealer and owned an RV. He remembers traveling with his family and the experience of being on the open road.
“You know, that passion just stuck with me. There’s so much to see in our country,” he says. “It’s in my blood.”
Twait (photo, left) started RVing himself in his mid-30s and would hit the road with his wife, Heather (photo, right), and the family’s pets to attend to his business dealings around the country.
Twait was in the automotive reconditioning industry in those days and the last company he owned before opening The Motorcoach Store was CertiFleet, which repaired hail damage for large fleets belonging to auto dealers, car rental companies and others.
Something else he liked about RVing was that it would allow him and Heather to get out of the Midwest during the winter. Which is how they discovered Anna Maria and settled there 15 years ago.
Running an RV dealership, even one that specializes in the top of the line motorcoaches, hasn’t diminished that passion. In fact, the interviews for this story were conducted while he was on a trip to Michigan.
These days, he’s driving a 2023 Newell P50 Quad Slide. The motorcoach, which he’s listed for sale for $2.55 million as he awaits a new one, was custom built. In pictures, the inside seems to have all the fine touches you’d expect to find in a luxury apartment. Outside, it looks like the tour bus for a rock star.
“There’s so many places you can visit throughout this country,” Twait says. “And even after doing it for over 20 years, we still haven’t been to every place that we can.”
Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.