Making Customers Happy For 38 Years, Happy Daze Rvs

So what makes Happy Daze RVs so different from other RV dealerships? Lemke says it’s the people that work here. “We have been in the business longer than most, and we are family owned without major debt.
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* Motorhome
* Motorhomes

* Recreational vehicles

* Sacramento - California - US

Oct. 26, 2012 - PRLog -- Nestled in the middle of a row of Recreational Vehicle (RV) dealerships on El Camino Avenue in North Sacramento is family owned RV dealership that has been making customers happy for over 38 years.  One of the first in Sacramento on El Camino, Happy Daze RVs started selling RVs in 1974 during the gas crunch.  Long lines at the gas stations, with prices spiking daily, led to a major slow-down in RV sales.  Fred Lemke, owner of Happy Daze RVs, said the decline in sales provided him the opportunity to get into the business at a discount.  “I was approached by an RV manufacturer that had surplus inventory,” said Lemke.  “I was able to procure that inventory at about fifty cents on the dollar.”  Fred said he was then able to offer the products in his market at a considerable discount, making happy customers and friends along the way.

Lemke started with mobile homes prior to taking on the RVs.  By 1980, he grew RV sales by taking on a line of motorhomes from Fleetwood, called Santana.  Business was growing.  Lemke had 2 RV dealerships and 6 mobile home dealerships.  In 1989, Fred discontinued mobile home sales, but was selling RVs in Sacramento, San Jose and Lodi.  He spent hours every day commuting between the locations, and putting in full days between the commutes.  He said after a while, it was taking a toll on him.  “In 1992, I downsized to just the Sacramento store where I could just concentrate on the local market,” Fred said.  “I ended up doing better with just one location than I was doing with three!”

Happy Daze RVs slogan is “We Take Anything on Trade”.  Lemke said back in the early days of the business, it all started with a livestock trade.  “I had a rancher purchasing an RV, but he was having trouble coming up with the down payment,” he said.   Fred said that everything has a value, and a lot of things have personal value to him.  “I asked the rancher what he had available to trade for down payment in the form of livestock.”  Fred said he ended up accepting an 800 pound steer and two pigs from the customer, and Fred ‘ponied’ up the down payment for the customer.  “That was our first company pig roast,” he quipped.  To this day, Happy Daze RVs will still take anything on trade.  “All of our ornate outdoor western furniture as taken on trade too,” added Lemke.

Today, RV marketing is very aggressive.  Many dealerships have large corporate ad budgets for television, radio and print.  Lemke has a different and much simpler approach.  “Forty to forty five percent of our business is repeat customers and referrals,” said Fred.  “I would rather spend those advertising dollars going the extra mile for my customers, than giving them to the advertising agencies,” he added.  The approach works.  Happy Daze really is a happy place.  You can talk to customers coming and going from sales and service, and for the most part, everyone has a smile on their face.  It’s a very friendly atmosphere.  Fred said customers are part of the Happy Daze RVs family.  “We have fourth generation customers!”  People don’t just come to work at Happy Daze RVs, they’re having fun and enjoy their work.  Lemke said that he has employees now that have been around for 27 years.  “I have retired a few as well,” said Lemke.  He added that his current general manager, Ronnie Raddigan, started out cleaning out horse trailers and kept the RV lot clean.  “I remember the first thing I told Ronnie was to grab a shovel and clean out all of the ‘garbage’ in a horse trailer I had,” explained Lemke.  It’s not just the work environment.  Fred explained that every employee has the tools and training to get the job done right, the first time.  Sales staff members attend training weekly, and several service personnel are schooled and are RVDA and RVIA certified mechanics.  These are the best and most important certifications in the RV industry.

About two years ago, Happy Daze RV expanded with a new location in Livermore, California.  Fred explained that a good portion of his RV customers live in the San Francisco Bay area.  “I thought it was time to provide a location for our customers in that area to get their service work done, so that they didn’t have to drive all the way to Sacramento,” he said.  An additional benefit of the new location was that Happy Daze could also have inventory in Livermore, and provide the area with a nice selection of quality RVs.

Fred said he holds the local community in high regards.  Happy Daze RVs constantly supports the local community through a variety of charitable contributions.  “You have to give back to your community,” he said.  He provides use of RVs for a number of local event and fundraisers, donates RV rentals for fund raising events, and contributes to the local Cancer Societies, local schools and the Shriners.

Unlike a lot of RV dealership owners, Fred Lemke lives the RV life.  “We vacation in RVs regularly,” he said.  “I want to know what I am selling, and I want to know it well.”  This is partially how Lemke determines which brands to offer his customers.  “I don’t want problems for my customers,” he said.  “I want to sell products from manufacturers that take care of their customers, so we are all on the same page,” he added.  “An unhappy customer is bad for everyone; sales, service and the industry!”  Lemke said Happy Daze will immediately drop a product line if any problems are encountered with the product and the manufacturer does not take care of the product and the customer.

Happy Daze RV offers RV rentals for local customers.  Lemke’s philosophy is that most people would rather try something before they buy it.  “Many RV rental companies will rent units with twenty to forty thousand miles on them,” said Lemke.  “I keep only current model year units to ensure a worry free vacation for my customers,” he added.  Happy Daze RV Rentals offers new units, all the way up to the number-one selling Tiffin Allegro Class A gas motorhome.  Customers have a great opportunity to know the product first hand before making such a large purchase.  

So what makes Happy Daze RVs so different from other RV dealerships?  Lemke says it’s the people that work here.  “We have been in the business longer than most, and we are family owned without major debt.  This allows us to focus on our customers, not business partners,” he said.  “But most importantly, it’s our people.  People make the difference, and most of our folks have been around a long time.”  According to Lemke, a customer at Happy Daze RVs will enjoy a unique experience, whether in sales or service.   Lemke said the worse thing a customer could say is ‘I wish I would have bought from you’.  “I believe in a fair and honest deal, and I expect every customer to be treated as if they were the owner of the dealership.”
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Tags:rv, Rvs, Motorhome, Motorhomes
Industry:Recreational vehicles
Location:Sacramento - California - United States
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