It doesn’t take long to figure out why the motto of Berks-Mont Camping Center is “Where Families Travel.” Family values are very important to the company’s co-owners, Henry and Joan Shellenberger, and this is one of the reasons this husband and wife team stepped into the RVing business. Henry feels that families need time away from the routine to enjoy the great outdoors.
Joan and Henry’s own experience with family-owned dealerships proved key in determining the path they took. Joan was raised in an RV dealership family and Henry worked for a family owned dealership for 10 years. Henry believes that his “top-notch training at that dealership” along with an opportunity to take over a well-established family dealership in Boyertown, Pa. was the perfect formula for success. So in 1998, the Shellenberger’s purchased Reppert’s RV dealership, which was the oldest dealership in Pennsylvania. The Shellenbergers recognized the value of the dealer’s existing reputation and had every intention of building on it. Henry knows that it is important to maintain and keep that reputation alive. Henry feels that for new business owners, it is much easier to build on a successful business that already has a solid history rather than starting from scratch.
Service Bays: 7
Shasta Class C’s; Great West van campers; Fifth Avenue fifth-wheels; Four Winds travel trailers and fifth-wheels; Shasta travel trailers and fifth-wheels; Sunlite folding campers; Aero fold downs, hybrids and lites; McKenzie travel trailers and fifth-wheels; LEER truck caps
RV sales and service, RV storage, propane sales, RV accessories, LEER truck accessories, sales and service
The Shellenbergers acted on that philosophy and build they did. Previously, the dealership specialized in LEER truck caps. And their LEER business is still a key component of the company. Aside from the income from the truck business, it also gives the dealership a boost in exposure. It creates more “traffic” for the company because truck customers will browse the RVs while waiting for a cap to be installed. These browsers often turn into buyers.
Another unique feature of Berks-Mont is the RV storage service they offer. Using a large, 10-acre field on the property, several customers take advantage of the storage service. More and more people are moving into townhouses and simply do no have a place to store their RVs. Winter storage is especially popular.
To make life even easier for the customer, Berks-Mont will get your rig ready for that first after-winter trip. With one quick phone call from the customer, Berks-Mont will de-winterize the rig, ensure the state inspection is up to date and get the RV ready for the road.
This is an example of the kind of customer care that reinforces the Berks-Mont philosophy of being “small enough to know you and big enough to serve you.”
Henry attributes much of the dealership's success to the support of his own family and his faith, although he admits that it was not always easy. After scraping together every bit of capital he could get his hands on, Henry still had to take a second mortgage on their home to pay for the dealership in 1998. The entire family is supportive of the dealership including Henry and Joan’s three daughters (Stephanie, Bethany,
This strong family support also gives Henry the boost he needs to stretch his energy during long hours or to keep going during the show season. The girls help out with open houses and other events. Serving hot dogs and meeting customers gives them a close up look at the RV business and the chance to meet lots of nice people. It looks like the Shellenbergers are contributing to another generation of family-owned businesses.