With over 50 years in the RV business, Paul Evert still dedicates his time and energy to preserving the close knit family values he's worked so hard to instill. Paul has three children with Sherri, his wife of over 30 years. Paul and Sherri still actively RV, and who can blame them for investing time in one of the most wholesome and family oriented activities around?
Travel with us through the years and read this captivating story of how Paul Evert made his RV dreams come true.
Paul Evert's personal story, so important to his business success, is also about dreams, and about a boy who made his dreams come true. Evert attended California State University, Fresno and majored in business administration. After college he worked at Schenley Industries/Roma Wine.
In 1955, he took an additional part-time job selling new cars for a local automobile broker, a career move that changed his life forever. "Even as a teenager, I always knew I would head my own business," Evert recalls. "Back then, I thought I would be in ranching. I always wanted to own land." But Evert became hooked on vehicle sales from his earliest days with the auto dealers. Realizing he had found his calling, he committed the next 10 years to learning the trade of selling new and used cars. By the time Evert was ready to go into business for himself at age 31, he had formulated his own theory on establishing a successful dealership. As Evert puts it, "I realized that most dealers try to build their business primarily around sales, adding parts and service later. I had always thought that if it were me, I would start the other way around."
Opening his own used car lot in 1961 on Abby Street in downtown Fresno, Evert and his first five employees began selling Corvettes and Porsches to other dreamers. Holding true to his ideas of a successful auto business, Evert's service department and auto detail services preceded his focus on sales. "I was committed to selling a quality product, taking care of my customers and their vehicles, and making a fair living," Evert says.
After a successful first two years, Evert seized an opportunity to grow. When the two-story building next door burned down, he purchased the land, cleaned off the debris, and expanded his original lot. Within just 10 years, he had purchased another two nearby lots, bringing his total holdings to half a city block in the heart of Fresno's commercial district. "I guess I never got over my dream to own land." Evert says.
The new property was finally occupied in 1975 after Evert leased the original used car lot to a business acquaintance who needed a location for his RV dealership. In 1977, the tenant decided to move to San Diego and offered to sell his inventory to Evert rather than move it 350 miles south. "I looked the books over and went into a few of the vehicles," Evert recalls. "I decided that no one who went into a Midland RV could pass up buying it, so I took the Midland and Country Campers vehicles off his hands. Within a year, I was hooked. RV's were for me."
Evert proceeded to sell off his automobile inventory and fill four different lots with an impressive stock of RV's. He also leased the Frontier Chevrolet truck Service Center and converted it into an RV service shop with eight bays. Today the operation runs on service, as evidenced by the 40-bay service center at his current location. Evert believes a happy customer is the best advertisement. "We work very hard at that."
Evert's drive to follow his dreams is still going. In 1992, he completed an RV park capable of handling 10 vehicles for customer who need to stay overnight while their units are being serviced. The Paul Evert RV Club, established in 1987, provides information on service specials and group trips of interest to members. Through the years, an estimated 10,000 owners, including friends, relatives, and customers, have purchased RV's from Evert.
In 1996, Evert completed a $3 1/2 million dollar expansion which increased the sales office to 30,000 square ft, 40 service bays, and a parklike area for those who need overnight service.
In the meantime, Evert, with the help of his partners, plans to continue his successful ways. Indeed, the future seems unlimited for the Fresnan who has, for 50 years, shared his dreams with his customers. "RVing is one of the most wholesome and family-oriented activities I can think of," Evert says, "and it has been my pleasure to be involved in this rewarding business."