What does it take to build a campground? That's a question Chris and I have been asked a lot lately. It's a loaded question and one difficult to answer on the fly. But one thing is for sure, Southbound RV Park and Cabins hasn't developed from an over grown pasture to a thriving 52 site and 8 cabin campground in the last seven years by accident or luck. No, we have experienced some level of success at building a campground, I believe, for the following four reasons.
When Chris and I started building Southbound, bank loan officers laughed at us. We went to bank after bank and were turned down over and over. So instead of building with a traditional bank investor on board to start, we used our savings, our day job paychecks, and our sweat equity to build. The reality of this slow way of building was that , especially in the beginning, we couldn't afford as many amenities as our competitors. But, what we learned through the process was that many customers could see our vision and were willing to join with us in reaching our goals. Many bore with our rough edges and cheered us on through the years because they understood we were striving for the very essence of the American Dream. These patriots helped us to build Southbound RV Park and Cabins by allowing us to serve them until we reached a level that finally got the attention of a traditional bank investor. Now we are steadily improving our amenities and continuing to add sites and cabins. But it would not have been possible without the faith of our early guests.
The Southbound Team
I cannot say enough about our team. These are the people you will likely encounter in our office/store, around the park maintaining the grounds, or who you will talk to when you call our phone number. These are people that believe in treating guests with dignity and respect. They believe in giving a 100% every day, all the time. They are the reason our customers come back time and again. Some are newly added team members, some have been striving with us for a long time. All have been woven into the framework of Southbound RV Park and Cabins. Without a great team, we certainly couldn't provide great services to our guests as they've rightly come to expect.
My husband, Chris, is the most determined man you'll ever meet. Chris has always had a clear vision of what he was aiming for and has refused to quit during the tough times. He wouldn't allow me to quit either. And while he doesn't believe in cutting corners, he's pretty scrappy. We learned quite early in our journey that making efficient use of time and resources was key to our survival as a business. And today you can see examples of that scrappiness throughout the park. My favorite example is our clubhouse that features reused steel sheets originally from a barn in Goliad TX. We tore the barn down at the request of the owner and used the steel sheets on the walls in our clubhouse. You can see said steel peeking out from behind us in the above picture.
God has given life and breath and all good things in our lives. It is only by His providence that we accomplish anything.
So if you want to build a campground, make sure to tap into the American spirit of your customers, build a great team, grit your teeth for the long haul, and honor God with your success.