In our member spotlight series, RVWA interviews many of the women who make up the RV industry, highlighting how they got into the industry, what they currently do, and advice for other women. We also dive deeper to understand these women more and what drives them both in and outside the industry.
Switching from being a schoolteacher to becoming part owner of an RV dealership might sound like a big jump.
But for Kacee Barrow of Adventure Camper Sales in Almo, Kent. – just north of Murray – the change has been a dream come true.
Barrow and her husband joined another couple to build the dealership four years ago.
But Barrow is a bit more involved than the others – also serving as the admin/office manager for the dealership.
She said the two couples decided to get into the industry with the hopes of being able to improve customer support after they had some bad experiences of their own.
Whether it’s the quality of service they are providing or just the perfect timing, Adventure Camper Sales has taken off.
“We have been very blessed in the past four years,” Barrow said. “We’ve done a lot of changes and we’ve had a lot of different employees. We totally changed our line of campers. But we obviously are riding the wave with everybody else in the industry and have been so blessed by all the things that have contributed and enriched our industry. I get to work in the office, but I also get to provide a really good living for all my employees. In four years, we never thought we’d see the sales the way we have and the need for employees and more certified techs.”
For the first year, Barrow continued working as a teacher of pre-calculus and algebra. But it soon became evident she could better use her talents in the office. She is the only one of the owners who regularly works in the office.
Also being the mother of three daughters, she knows a little something about being versatile, which is something she credits the RV industry with mastering.
“They’ve been able to adapt through COVID and parts shortages and through things nobody could have predicted,” she said. “I feel like we’ve done a great job of getting people out on the road even at a time when nobody wanted to go anywhere. I think the industry as a whole has made great changes striving toward letting people live in their camper full time, work from their camper, experience the world – whether it be their kids are with them doing online learning.”
Success hasn’t just come from talking people into getting out. It also come down to giving people the opportunity to do what they love and continue to live their lives in a time when it seemed like everything was standing still.
Giving people those opportunities and making advances are what excites Barrow about the industry going forward.
“Our industry as a whole has found a way to overcome some of the problems so that we can keep going,” she said. “I think we as an industry have done well when times are hard.”
For those entering the industry or wanting to pursue a career, Barrow recommends getting connected with others in the industry.
She said one of the biggest helps she and the other owners at Adventure Camper Sales found was when they joined a Spader 20 Group and began to learn how passionate the people in the industry are about what they do.
She said she believes opportunities for women are there for the taking, whether it be as a trained service tech or on the sales side or wherever there is interest.
“We as women have experienced independence we have never had before,” Barrow said. “Whether just being a camper or learning how to tow or learning how to empty out your black tank – whatever it is – I think it’s given us a new sense of independence and opportunity. In the industry specifically, I would say find somebody to mentor. Find somebody to bounce ideas off of.”
Succeeding in the industry can be daunting, but it also can be a matter of finding the right resources and making the best out of what others with experience are willing to pass on.
Many find they get out of it what they put into it.
“Whatever level you get in, there are so many good resources and people that have a story to tell that can teach you things and you can bounce ideas off of,” she said. “I loved every minute of RVDA. You don’t even have to be a camper to love this industry. Find your group of people. Invest in that group and just learn. Help promote it and be passionate about it.”