As a longtime avid golfer, you might say that new Camping World of Las Vegas General Manager Chris Hickerson is on par in an industry known for long drives.
Overseeing a sea of recreational vehicles on more than 18 acres at 13175 Las Vegas Blvd. South, the 45-year-old Hickerson relocated from Phoenix five months ago, venturing into new market with many opportunities.
"I was actually in the golf business 12 years ago," said Hickerson, who has a 3 handicap. "I saw the opportunity in the RV industry and decided to switch gears while living in Mesa, Ariz. I haven't looked back since joining the Camping World/Good Sam family more than a decade ago. The first thing I did when I got here was freshen up the dealership with an emphasis on attention to details, inventory and staff."
To the energetic Hickerson, Nevada has vast opportunities for outdoor recreation.
"In addition, Las Vegas is a tremendous hub to reach so many other locations ranging from Arizona in the South to California in the West and Utah in the North. Living here, you're only a few hours from everywhere - and my job is to make it easier to get there."
Even higher fuel prices have not deterred success in the RV business.
"In another turnaround of gas prices, people are simply accustomed to the fact that higher fuel prices are simply part of life," Hickerson said. "Our sales in the last five months have seen a 70 percent increase, which pretty much tells the story. Our buyers include weekend warriors, who want to get out and enjoy life on the weekends, to full-timers, who want to travel and enjoy the scenery."
Hickerson explained that some RV owners will often sell or rent their residences before purchasing an RV to travel around the country.
"With the ever-changing technology in the Internet, the changes have allowed us to expand on our business model to reach a much broader market," he said. "When you leave the traditional home nowadays, your home on wheels literally has the same ability to communicate, only with the chance to see other country at the same time."
Camping World of Las Vegas is the largest location of its kind in the state, and Hickerson said the company's Internet department continually receives inquiries from other states such as Utah, California, Arizona, Virginia, Florida and even Canada.
"We even sold a coach recently to someone from New Zealand. Many people simply want to purchase an RV while also enjoying Las Vegas at the same time," Hickerson said. "Las Vegas is not only a wonderful business opportunity but it also affords a great chance to enjoy a fascinating city at the same time."