The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Jan 10, 2017
Small towns have recently been the focus of a diversification of the tech industry and Camp Native has embraced all that small towns have to offer.
In the summer of 2015, Camp Native, a tech startup located in Seattle, graduated from 9Mile Labs, a B2B Technology accelerator and was in the midst of completing a seed round.
Founder and CEO David Woodbury had the idea of building Camp Native (a marketplace for finding and reserving accommodations for your next outdoor adventure), in a community that embraced the outdoors.
In October 2015, Camp Native moved its operations from the robust tech ecosystem of Seattle to a small rural town in South Dakota called Spearfish with the help of Spearfish Economic Development and Angel Investors. A town of just more than 10,000 people, Spearfish had made several top 10 lists from sites like National Geographic and Outside Online. The business friendly tax laws of the state of South Dakota, lower cost of operations and the growing popularity of this small town made this an ideal location for the company, according to a press release.
Today, Camp Native is serving more than 12,000 campsites nationwide from a 3,500 square foot office space in a historic building on Main Street in downtown Spearfish. The company now has 10 full-time employees working diligently to on board and assist properties with utilizing their growing platform.
Camp Native is the fastest growing recreational property reservation platform on the planet. They have signed more than 600 properties in less than a year of sales efforts.
“In less than a year we’ve signed more reservable properties to our platform than is offered by KOA who’s been in business for 56 years," Woodbury says. "They are disrupting a billion dollar industry from a sleepy little mountain town in South Dakota.
Woodbury is proud of what the company has accomplished in its first year.
“We came in and did things different from the start, we knew what the going rate was for sales personnel in this community and we chose to pay 30 percent higher base salaries," he says. "We offered benefits such as health insurance bonus, gym memberships and unlimited vacation. As a result, we have an amazing core team, 0 percent turnover and advocates of our business across the community. We also make sure to get out as a team and support community events.”
With reduced costs of operations, the Camp Native team is able to get out and become involved with unique experiences.
Woodbury hasn’t stopped with Camp Native. He’s helped develop another tech startup in the community by supporting another entrepreneur on the technology side as well as launching a digital marketing agency. He’s even moved a key executive from Miami to Spearfish and is assisting in launching an Angel fund in town.
"In Seattle, I’m just another entrepreneur trying to build a company," he says. "In Spearfish, we are rock stars, but more importantly we can have an impact on this community and I can see and feel tangible evidence of that.”
“Camp Native is still an early stage business, but many in the community view it as already successful," Spearfish Economic Development Executive Director Steffanie Salazar says. "Camp Native has come in and provided a new way of doing things, they treat their people well and they are invested in the community. Spearfish Economic Development took a risk when they committed funds to bring a pre-revenue tech startup to Spearfish, but so far it’s paying huge dividends.”
Although technology can bridge geographic gaps, challenges still exist with operating a tech startup in a small town. Woodbury says that the biggest challenges are access to capital and a major airport. Woodbury does most of the fundraising for Camp Native outside of South Dakota so it can be costly and time consuming to get in front of the right investors. Even so, it can be done using platforms like Gust, Angel List, LinkedIn and F6S. At the end of the day, Woodbury believes that the pros far outweigh the cons.