As demand for RV’s continues to surge, a new type of business is taking over

MADISON, Wis. – As Wisconsin begins to move beyond the Coronavirus pandemic, one COVID byproduct is continue to grow in popularity – RV’s.

According to the RV Industry Association, sales in 2021 are projected to be more than 30% higher than in 2020, which was already up nearly 15% over 2019. In addition, rental demand has skyrocketed.

In Madison, Alicia Hamilton was one of many who got the itch to experience the outdoors during the pandemic.

I’ve always wanted to have a camper, especially last year with the COVID craziness,” she said. “I was definitely wanting to do a lot more camping and really got the bug to have a camper.”

Price, however, was a barrier.

“They’re not cheap,” she said. “You’re looking at $15,000 for an entry level used camper. With the maintenance and the storage, it just adds up.”

Hamilton and her family eventually hatched an idea – purchase a camper, but help pay for it by renting it out on weekends they weren’t using it. 

The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to convince my husband of this crazy idea,” Hamilton said.

The idea soon became a business model, and Shady Grove Fancy Camping was born. Hamilton was then able to apply for a Wisconsin COVID innovation grant, which helped grow her business to two trailers. 

It was a learning curve as far as like, how these things are rented out, how the insurance works, how the rental platforms work. I learned that within 2-3 weeks,” she said. “A fair number of people who rent our campers, especially the smaller size camper, they’re people who are looking to purchase a camper, and they want to know if it’s going to be something they want to use.”

Hamilton says she intends to continue growing the business as time goes on. 

Camping is something we do with our families to create memories and create memories for our children,” she said. “We want our kids to be out in nature and experience the fun of camping and campfires and swimming, so I feel like what we’re doing is a way to help facilitate people to do that.”