“Know your prospect and your product,” Howard Veurink, founder and former owner of Howard Veurink Travel Trailers once said. The story begins back in 1954, when Howard Veurink left the Korean War and joined his father, Adrian Veurink, in the RV business and industry. Together, they opened up a small dealership called Modern Mobile Homes and Travel Trailers, located in Grand Rapids, MI.
Howard Veurink recognized that he had a passion specifically selling Travel Trailers. So, in 1963, he moved down the road from his father and started his own business called “Howard Veurink Travel Trailers.” His sales were handled by a sales staff of three – himself, his sales manager and service manager, his sons Tim and Tom and his daughter Tammy, along with part-time assistance from his wife, Barbara Veurink.
Howard’s dealership was a small 180 x 265 square foot lot, with almost double the display area of his former lot down the road. As the years passed and sales and inventory grew, Howard built a brand new showroom and service center, which was one of the very first heated RV showrooms in the country. One of the first lines of RVs to fill the showroom was Holiday Rambler, which is a line the dealership still sells today.
Along with knowing the prospect, Howard believed that knowing the product was equally as important. “Naturally, customers will ask a lot of questions and it pays to know what you’re talking about.” Having worked in trailers himself, Howard knew the importance of service and good customer relations. He believed the best form of advertising is word of mouth recommendation by his customers.
“You must size up the prospect, find out mainly what they want and go on from there. Every sale is different; how to handle it comes through experience.” – Howard Veurink
Howard Veurink took his family out west for a month, in a 1972 Holiday Rambler Travel Trailer. It was important to him to experience and live out the lifestyle that he sold to better understand the prospect. He used the psychology of “roughing it in comfort.” “A family can spend time in the wilderness for a weekend or several weeks, yet with a Travel Trailer you can still have the amenities of home,” Howard said. The Veurink family ventured out to Arizona, New Mexico and through the desert during their time out west.
In 1991, Howard Veurink sold the business to his three children, Tammy, Tim and Tom. The business continued to grow and they soon realized that they would be out of space. So, in 1998, they purchased eight acres of land at the 7100 block of South Division Ave, in Grand Rapids, MI, where they currently reside today and is now called Veurink’s RV Center. The current dealership is a two story, 21,000 square foot building, including an indoor showroom, Camp Store, Service Center and an E-commerce Factory Parts department and warehouse. The lot has 28 beautiful landscaped displays that mimic a campsite, to help customers envision the entire RV Lifestyle experience.
Howard Veurink passed away in 2013, leaving a legacy in the RV industry and company to his children and grandchildren. Today, Veurink’s RV Center has six family members that are employed, working in RV sales, marketing, accounting and the detail department. Howard’s son, Tim Veurink, is the President and current owner, while his daughter, Tammy Kuipers, manages the Human Resources department. Tim’s wife, Pat Veurink, helps with administration and special events. Howard’s grandson, Matt, is the Sales Manager, training to be the General Manager and his granddaughter, Mollee, is the Creative Marketing Director. Matt’s stepson, Aaron, works in the detail department, making sure the RVs on the lot are squeaky clean. The Veurink family members continue to enjoy the RV Lifestyle when they are not working and enjoy the Michigan Summers RVing.
Veurink’s RV Center is a six time, Top 50 RV Dealer, a two time Blue Ribbon winner and a Gaylord Maxwell Innovation and Ingenuity award winner, presented by RV Business Magazine. Among those awards, Veurink’s RV Center has been a top KZ RV Diamond Dealer and has had the opportunity to continue to sell the Holiday Rambler product. This makes Veurink’s RV Center the oldest Holiday Rambler RV Dealer, servicing and selling the product since 1963. The dealership has over 250 Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels and Motorhomes on the lot, ranging from American Coach B Vans, Dutchmen, Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler, KZ RV, Keystone and Venture RV products.
To this day, Tim Veurink manages the dealership following the same basic strategies as his father did, although tweaking procedures as the market, industry and technologies change. One of the basic principles that stay the same, one of their core values, is Integrity. He reminds himself, as well as his staff of 40, to keep that word and meaning in mind when making business decisions and dealing with day to day work responsibilities.
“We take pride in being a locally owned and family operated, independent RV dealership. West Michigan is a tight community, where supporting the smaller and independent family businesses are a big part of their purchasing decision. It is exciting to be serving the West Michigan community going on 65 years and continuing the success of my dad.” Tim Veurink says.
Veurink’s RV Center believes that they are more than just a business, but that they can help and support others in the community and across the world through the work that they do. Tim reminds the staff that when you work for him, it is more than just a paycheck. “Through the hard work they do and at the end of each day, the fruits of their labor are able to feed children in a third world country, provide a job for someone and even an education,” Tim Veurink says. The company does community service projects that staff members can partake in, working alongside domestic and international nonprofits and organizations that the company supports.
Selling the “roughing it in comfort” concept is still a key marketing tool for Veurink’s RV Center and it’s success. “It’s not just selling a product, but a lifestyle. Families want an affordable and new way to travel, allowing more freedom, flexibility and fun – Veurink’s RV Center makes it their goal to fulfill those needs. We look forward to reaching more of the community with this lifestyle and get them to experience the RV Lifestyle with us now and in the future.” Tim Veurink says.
Presented by Veurink’s RV Center
Veurink’s motto is “Go RVing With Us”. This is because the Veurink family name and reputation is on your fifth wheel, motorhome, travel trailer and RV experience. We believe that the RV lifestyle is the best way to enjoy your leisure time and we strive to always provide the very best in products and customer satisfaction.