Between long-time Wayne County residents Doug Carpenter and Jody Jones, the pair can do it all. Jones’ carpentry skills have served him well while working on campers and cargo trailers on the side. Carpenter is a gear-head by trade, skills necessary for a farmer and a semi-trucker. When you add in Jones’ appliance servicing degree from Indian Hills Community College, opening an RV repair business was a no-brainer.
When a friend, with experience in RV maintenance, talked to them about the vacuum open in southern Iowa, the two recognized the opportunity. There are no other RV businesses for miles.
But it’s a labor of love as well. Carpenter grew up camping. “We started in a small tent,” he says. He appreciated the solitude whenever his grandparents took him out, the peace of hunting or fishing or just walking through timber, and the camaraderie with his family that included the unique tastes and smells of campfire food. “It was actually more relaxing when there weren’t any cell phones. Back then, you’d wander around the campground and meet and talk to people.” Carpenter still owns and maintains his grandfather’s original camper.
There are 60 million campers in the United States, Jones and Carpenter explain, and in the long run, an RV is actually a cheaper alternative for vacations—as long as you catch problems early and service your vehicle. Minor repairs such as a leak in a roof can become major problems.
Their ambitions are humble, though, for right now. They will start with repair and service and used RV sales. As Carpenter admits, “You’re not going to get rich around here.” They’re launching their business from an existing structure, a truck and farm shop that will serve them well for the time being. Though their location—near Lake Rathbun, a few miles east of Millerton—is fortunate for now, if business goes as planned, they aspire to build a bigger shop closer to Corydon.
It helps that Carpenter and Jones can work on everything from roof to wheels—ceilings, walls and RV skin. They can even fix your appliances.
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/Southeriarv, stop by Southern Iowa RV at 2972 Highway J22, or call 641-217-0705 and ask for Jody or Doug.