By Jim Stickford
Wixom-based General RV Center, which is Florida’s largest family owned RV dealer, will open a new store on the west coast of the Sunshine State next year.
The new facility will be located on the southside of Fort Myers and will be General RV’s fifth Supercenter in the state and 19th location nationwide. General RV is Florida’s top motorhome dealer, according to data collected by Statistical Surveys.
Expansion of General RV and development of new Supercenter indicates that RV sales will remain robust in 2024. Americans’ fascination with exploring the great outdoors via recreational vehicles surged during the pandemic and continues to grow. As consumers open their wallets to purchase more and more RVs, RV and boat storage operators are reassured that the storage industry will continue to boom. Currently, there are far more RV and boats coming into the market than there are secure facilities to store them.
According to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments are indeed expected to increase by nearly 24% in 2024, with approximately 370,000 new units entering the market. Data have also indicated that today’s RV market is currently valued at $48 billion but will likely blow past $80 billion by the end of 2035.
General RV currently operates three other Florida Supercenters: Orange Park (near Jacksonville), Dover (near Tampa), and Ocala. The company is set to open its fourth Supercenter in Fort Pierce (near Port St. Lucie) early next month.
“General RV first found a home in Florida in 2009. Since we opened those doors, our company has grown exponentially,” says Lorn Baidas, president of General RV. “As we continue to grow, our goal remains the same: to help families make RV memories. We are excited to bring our premier RV purchasing experience, service, and products to a new part of the Sunshine State and continue to help our customers connect with the great outdoors.”
The 120,000-square-foot facility in Fort Myers is planned to have 20 service bays, with enough space to house up to 400 RVs. The property includes two buildings which will be upgraded to reflect General RV’s existing Supercenter format.
The dealership is expected to have a soft opening in early January. Once fully operational, the dealership will add more than 100 jobs to the local community.
This is the fifth new location General RV has announced in 2023. Earlier this month, General RV acquired Stoltzfus RV and Marine, making it the company’s second Pennsylvania store in West Chester, and announced its fourth Florida Supercenter in Fort Pierce, Fla.
This year, General RV broke ground on a second dealership in South Weber, Utah, and its first Supercenter in North Carolina in Salisbury. Both locations are scheduled to open in late 2024.