When Bill Meissner relocated his family to the historical gold rush town of Columbia, California he had retirement in mind. His goal was to get away from the congestion of San Francisco Bay Area and enjoy life “off the grid”. Shortly after the move to the Columbia area, an advisor talked Bill into buying a local trailer park near Columbia State Park; telling him it would be similiar to managing the apartment building he had owned in Berkeley.
While learning the history of the area, Bill discovered the RV Park was originially a dairy farm in 1852. Digging a bit deeper, he learned when there was overflow of covered wagons; they offered camping spots to the local gold miners. Many of the miners had travelled across the country with cattle. The dairymen accepted the well-traveled cattle (and occasional gold nugget) in trade for over-nighting their wagons. Excited by this history, Bill started adding camping spots to the RV Park, changed it to the “RV Ranch” and started promoting the local gold rush theme.
Years later, due to illness, the ranch went into a major slump. In an attempt to increase to increase business, one of Bill’s managers (Jack Vido) attended a local Business Alliance workshop. The workshop was taught by Lee Ann Fox with the Tuolumne County SBDC. Jack was so excited by what he learned in the “Free Business Website” session he went back to the “Ranch” and encouraged the owner to contact the SBDC the next day.
The first SBDC counseling session involved several hours of brainstorming regarding thier clientele and what was happening in current the RVer market. From this session they were able to identify several ways to serve their existing clients better and fill the ranch more often. Once the marketing segments were identified, they went to work creating a clean email list of past RVers, RV clubs and other special interest groups.