CEDAR FALLS | One of the area's major recreational vehicle dealers is going on permanent holiday -- but the business is going nowhere but up.
Jim Fogdall concluded 50 years in the RV business last week by closing the sale of his family business, Ace Fogdall RV, which was named for his father. The company is going to Camping World of Lincolnshire, Ill., which is launching a $1 million renovation of the Cedar Falls location and hiring staff.
Virtually all the employees will be retained, according to Fogdall. He is retiring because of his wife Judy's health, however, and their daughter and general manager, Sara Fogdall Miller, is stepping away from the business. She intends to devote more time to her family, including two sons ages 7 and 11.
"I'm thankful for all the opportunities we've had," said Fogdall, whose family has been in the automobile and RV business for 80 years.
Ace Fogdall started in RVs in 1963 and Jim worked alongside his father for 20 years.
"When the time came to retire and sell the business, I was fortunate to find a buyer that ... would employ all my present staff," Fogdall said. "One of my biggest objectives was to sell the business with a good feeling."
Don King, a Fogdall employee for 28 years, is now the store general manager.
"I personally have a lot of admiration for the Fogdall family," King said.
Camping World signs are on the business. A liquidation sale of Fogdall inventory is underway -- parts and RVs -- to make room for the new owner. The parts, sales and service departments are open.
The reconfigured sales area boasts 9,000 square feet of floor space, according to King.
"We retained 95 percent of the employees, plus we have already hired nine new employees," he added.
The business has 27 employees and another 10 to 15 could be hired by next spring, said Todd Nuttall, senior regional vice president for Camping World.
Nuttall said the Fogdall facility was an attractive acquisition because of its proximity to U.S. Highway 20. And the facility's size will allow the Camping World to offer "90 to 95 percent" of its products.
Also, the facility gives Camping World a presence in eastern Iowa. Its closest outlets were in Council Bluffs and Madison, Wis., prior to the Fogdall acquisition.
"The Quad Cities, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, over to Ames -- there's a significant amount of travel trailers sold every year," Nuttall said.
Plus, he said "there's room to grow" at the former Fogdall site.
Camping World is an arm of Good Sam Enterprises, which operates a membership club for RV owners.
The renovated Camping World will open Oct. 11. Company CEO Marcus Lemonis, who hosts "The Profit" on CNBC, will be at the Cedar Falls outlet from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 16 during a customer VIP event.
While the Fogdall name won't be seen, the enterprise's address -- 7805 Ace Place -- remains the same.