The RV show Poulsbo RV is presenting on Sept. 11-27 on a vacant lot in its namesake Washington town is a test, according to Poulsbo RV Auburn Manager Randy Edwards.
If it looks like there’s enough consumer support for an RV dealership in Poulsbo, the ultimate vacation vehicle could once again be a daily presence on the thoroughfare, the North Kitsap Herald reports.
Poulsbo RV was part of city’s Auto Row glory days, occupying sites on both sides of the thoroughfare until the economy tanked. Poulsbo RV closed the locations in 2008 (it has locations in Auburn, Everett, Fife, Kent, and Mount Vernon), and within three years Courtesy Ford and its associated dealerships also closed.
Mayor Becky Erickson is excited by the prospect of Poulsbo RV’s return.
“I think it’s a big deal for everyone involved,” she said Sept. 8, as she visited the lot. “People see the advertisements and they come to Poulsbo and [Poulsbo RV] is not here. So, it’s a big deal for Poulsbo RV, a big deal to Viking Avenue and Poulsbo, and we’re ready to help them anyway we can.”
In 2010, the city received $296,860 as its share of sales tax revenue generated by Viking Avenue businesses — down from $633,091 in 2007, a reflection of the departure of Poulsbo RV and all dealerships save Courtesy Ford, which closed in 2011. Traffic on Viking Avenue declined from as many as 22,000 cars a day during the Auto Row heyday, to 12,724 a day, Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern said in 2011.
Large swaths of empty buildings and asphalt remained, sad reminders of the Auto Row’s reign of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.
Then, as the economy turned around, things started to happen. Poulsbo RV sold its larger site at Viking Avenue and Liberty Road to North Kitsap Fishline in 2013, and Fishline has plans to build a new, larger food bank and warehouse on the property; the existing building will house expanded public services.
In April 2014, Hudson Auto Center moved into the former Courtesy Ford building, which had been purchased earlier that year by the owners of American Building and Roofing. ABRA Auto Body and Glass moved into a former car dealership next door.