After two decades in business Carlyle RV & Leisure owners Ron Mitchell and Kelly Dew have witnessed both demographic and technological changes in the industry, but the two men say there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: customer service.
The Carlyle, Saskatchewan, dealership, which recently celebrated its 20 years in business, specializes in all-season leisure products, including RVs, enclosed trailers, snowmobiles, ATVs and more.
“It’s a lot more family-centered now,” Mitchell told the Carlyle Observer. “It seems like over the past few years, the recreation industry has gotten into full, family involvement. People go camping as a whole family; and most couples we see now each have their own quad or snowmobile.”
“Our customers are from throughout the southeast and from as far away from The Pas and Prince Albert,” he adds. “Many of them have been with us since the beginning and that’s something we’re very proud of. When you make a purchase here, that’s not the end. Our after-sales service is equally important.”
Dew agrees and says that members of the service department are “constantly learning,” as vehicles and trailers become more complex.
“Snow machines have RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) keys now, for example,” adds Dew. “And campers have Linc Pads – that’s like an iPad for your trailer that allows you to operate everything that way.”
Both Mitchell and Dew began their careers in the auto body industry. Mitchell started his first business in Manitoba at the age of 22.
“I learned parts, sales and service there. And I learned that the customer always comes first,” he said.
Dew’s skills also stem from the automotive world and he uses those skills to teach, mentor, and apprentice staff.
In the RV industry, staff attend yearly seminars in Indiana, where they study advances and changes in refrigeration, electrical, and plumbing, to name a few.
“It’s almost a constant thing,” Dew said. “Because our industry is constantly changing.”