The construction at Chemo RV is nearing completion.
At almost 20,000 square feet, the new building is several times larger than the old one. Steve Rutledge, the manager at the Quesnel dealership, says they outgrew the original building years ago.
“Chemo’s been in this building for 30 years, and the vast majority of RVs don’t fit in this building,” says Rutledge. “If it’s over 10 feet high or 26 feet long, any work that gets done is done outside.”
For example, they do a pre-delivery inspection to check over an entire RV before it is sold. “So in the winter when we’re [inspecting] new stuff, we’re [inspecting] it at 30 below.”
Not only does that make for a freezing work environment, but part of the inspection requires they test the water systems within the RV as well – and they can’t do that if the water is frozen.
Or if an RV comes in with a hole in a rubber roof to be repaired, Rutledge says they have to watch the weather forecast until they get three days without rain, as the entire roof has to come off and be replaced – something that isn’t possible in their current building.
Even truck campers, the ones carried on the back of a truck, are too tall to fit into the current showroom, with the added height of the truck.
Rutledge expects the new building will be complete within the next month and a half. The steel building and timber frames are complete, and all that is left now is the dirt work, the windows, and just about all of the inside. It will feature a much larger shop than the current facility, as well as an indoor showroom.
The new showroom will be able to hold eight to 10 RVs at any given time, while the shop will be able to hold up to four 40-foot class A motorhomes or six to eight RVs at a time.
|A photo comparing the old and new Chemo buildings from above. Contributed photo|
With the indoor showroom, Rutledge says he’s also expecting increased traffic in worse weather. He says they sell RVs year round, but when the weather is bad, people will no longer have to pull on their boots and climb through snowbanks to view the RVs; instead they can tour the showroom, and if there is anything specific someone wants to see, it can be pulled into the shop to thaw.
Rutledge also expects that he’ll need to hire at least five new staff members once the new facility is open, to better accommodate demand.
It has been a busy year for Chemo RV.
During the 2017 wildfires, the company donated RVs for firefighters to sleep in once even the hotels had been evacuated, as well as bringing food, water and gift cards to the first responders. The company also donated $54,000 toward wildfire relief, split between the 150 Mile House Fire Department, the Williams Lake Fire Department, and the Red Cross.
Following their efforts, the owner of Chemo RV in both 150 Mile House and Quesnel, Jason Bell, won the Canadian RV Dealer of the Year Award from the RV Dealership Association of Canada (RVDA).
This year, in a continuing effort to give back following the wildfires, the company has pledged to plant 1,000 trees for every RV sold between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2018. They hit 100,000 trees planted on June 20.
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