By Andrew Kirk
Seven members of Jim Godfrey’s family were working
together at a family-owned business—but not their family’s.
It was time to rectify that, he said, so he opened Horn
Rapids RV Service & Sales Inc. on July 12.
All three of Godfrey’s sons started working with him
when they were 14 at the last dealership he worked at.
Over a span of 21 years at that employer, Godfrey’s
brother-in-law, son-in-law and daughter-in-law also came to work for him.
One son, Jacob, stayed with him 11 years. Jordan
served eight years in the Air Force and now works in parts. Josh served in the
Army for nearly six years before coming back to work as lead tech foreman.
Godfrey has worked with RVs for 27 years at a
variety of dealerships. The family has lived in the Tri-Cities for 30 years.
“All my kids were raised in it. They got to the ages
where they could do all the jobs, so we opened,” he said.
The business is set up as an S corporation with Jim
Godfrey serving as the president.
When he took over as general manager at his last job,
there were under 50 employees. When he left, there were 130.
Starting with a modest staff of seven doesn’t intimidate
him, as he knows their work ethic and expertise and is comfortable managing a
growing endeavor, he said.
He chose 2451 Henderson Loop in the Horn Rapids Business
Park in Richland because the area is familiar to many. It’s home to White
Bluffs Brewing and the Hanford Reach National Monument office.
The location also allows him to display his inventory to
commuters along Highway 240.
He hopes to service many of the campers and trailers of
those who work at the Hanford nuclear reservation, as well as those belonging
to residents in the growing Horn Rapids area.
Godfrey said it felt like the right place to put down
roots for a longtime family enterprise because it is one of the fastest-growing
areas in the Tri-Cities and he’s the only RV servicing and sales business in
Godfrey said he knows every aspect of the industry,
having started as a shop foreman, then working up to service manager. He began
taking business classes and earned a college degree.
That helped him land a promotion as a service center
manager and eventually general manager. From top-to-bottom, he’s done it all.
He’s proud to say that at his last employer he took them from 600 units per
year in sales to more than 1,800 units sold four years later.
Godfrey’s new facility has five inside bays and one
outdoor for servicing. It’s taken three months to get everything just right,
but he’s optimistic.
He decided to feature higher-end brands
under-represented at other area dealerships. Horn Rapids RV carries Travel Lite
RVs, campers and trailers, including the new Evoke series; TAXA Crickets and
the new Mantis trailers created by former NASA engineers; NeXus motorhomes; and
the Forest River E-Pro.
The inventory includes new and used vehicles and
“We’re starting small with quality service and quality
units,” Godfrey said. “Our stuff is a little bit different.”
Godfrey said everyone—including himself—who chooses RVs
as part of their profession is passionate about bringing families together to
enjoy the outdoors. And RVs create memories and unique experiences like
camping, hunting and fishing.
“Our dream is all about your family adventure starting
here,” he said. “There’s nothing like waking up together out there.”
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