George VanOstrand becomes a partner in a manufactured housing dealership and manages a park located across the street from Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, CT. The dealership is named VAN'S Aircraft Trailer Sales.
History of Pete's RV Center
The Dealership expands into RV sales and begins selling Shasta Travel Trailers. A former laundromat is converted to a small parts store and a two bay garage is built for service. We become incorporated as Leisure Living, but do business as VAN'S LEISURE LIVING.
Mark VanOstrand joins the company as a sales person. Dealership begins selling and renting Starcraft Folding Campers.
George and Mark fly to the Shasta factory and drive the dealership's first motorhomes back to Connecticut. The 20' model sells for $6,995 and the 22' sells for $7,995. Both are sold within a week.
Mike Couture is brought onboard as a sales person. Together, he and Mark make up the entire sales team.
It's all in the family now, as Mark purchases the capitol stock owned by George's partner.
We acquire Prowler Travel Trailers built by Fleetwood Enterprises. Sunline Coach is brought in and Van's begins selling its first lightweight trailers. This is the beginning of a relationship that lasts more than 20 years with both brands.
Van's receives delivery of its first Bounder motorhome. This “working mans” motorhome is an instant success and sales sky rocke
Van's is the largest Bounder Dealer on the East Coast, out selling much larger dealers from the South East. Additionally, we are the # 1 selling Prowler and Sunline Dealer in New England.
As sales rapidly increase, the present dealership is quickly out grown. George and Mark purchase a 5 acre parcel of undeveloped land north of the East Hartford location. It's exciting times as construction begins. Mike Couture becomes a partner.
We move into our new facility in South Windsor. We now have 7 service bays, a much larger camping store and plenty of room to display our growing selection of RV's. We begin doing business as VAN'S RV CENTER. We're on our way!
Roadtrek Van Campers are acquired, but initial sales are slow. One year later Van's is a top 10 dealer in North America.
The Allegro Motorhome line is introduced. Sales are strong, and we quickly become the # 2 dealer in New England.
Van's remains the largest dealer in the state according to Statistical Surveys. Allegro Motorhome sales soar and we bring in Phaeton, our first diesel Motorhome line. Our best seller is a 40' model with 4 slide-rooms and retails for over $200,000.
We begin selling Jayco Trailers, 5th Wheels and Motorhomes. Their products are well received by our customers and we maintain the #1 ranking in Connecticut.
Van's is the largest travel trailer and motorhome dealer in Connecticut according to Statistical Surveys. Sales of Allegro motorhomes in Connecticut surpass Winnebago for the first time. We are setting sales records state wide with Jayco.
Van's is acquired by Pete's RV Center and becomes their third store.
Pete's RV Center officially retires Van's RV Center name. In June, the transition was finalized with the Van's RV Center sign being lowered for a Pete's RV Center replacement.
Our current Vermont property was once the Thibault Farm. It consisted of a farm house, barn, and several outbuildings on a 4.3 acre lot.
Peter and Trudy Dispirito purchased the property and started a welding business as well as travel trailer sales called Pete's Trailer Mart. They built a 2 bay metal building as their shop.
Richard and Virginia Compagna purchase the business and real estate continuing to sell RVs until December 1983.
Terry and Mary Shepard purchase the business and real estate. They operate it until 1986.
David McGinnis and Larry Shepard bought out Mary Shepard and became partners with Terry Shepard. The company was renamed Pete's RV Center. See related and highly interesting story on the Pete's RV Center ownership team.
Pete's RV Center builds Vermont's first climate-controlled indoor showroom (5,544 square feet!).
Pete's Trailer Mart
Owners Terry and Larry Shepard, and David McGinnis
Pete's RV Center becomes Keystone RV Dealer in 2001. Beginning with Springdale, Cougar and Sprinter, Pete's RV Center becomes a Keystone RV dealer.
Pete's RV Center completes construction of their new 20,600 square foot state-of-the-art RV dealership on their current Vermont location. The all new steel building is outfitted with modern wiring, security, sprinkler, and heating and cooling systems. The service center gets new shop equipment including heavy-duty vehicle lift. On the exterior, the lot is leveled, paved, and high-intensity lighting installed.
The new PetesRV.com website is unveiled. It allows visitors to easily search our entire inventory as well as get better acquainted with the dealership's sales, service, and parts and accessories departments. The Pete's RV Center Info Blog is incorporated into the site and provides helpful information and news on everything RV!
Pete's RV Center named to the 2014 Top Ten Club by Evergreen Recreation Vehicles. The honor goes to them for the combined sales of Evergreen RVs at both dealership locations. In addition to strong sales with Bay Hill fifth wheels, is also selling Evergeen Sun Valley and I-Go travel trailers.
Also in November, Pete's RV Center is presented with a Thirty-Year Membership Award from The National RV Dealers Association (RVDA).
Irene and Alvin Macdonald travel across the country and purchase a 1947 Westcraft in Las Vegas, refurbished it, and resold it for a higher value back home in New England. The business was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, soon selling mobile homes and adding mobile home parks.
Alvin Macdonald, Jr. and his wife Eileen join the business. They started manufacturing Kon Tiki Truck Campers by Al-Mac at a plant in Rhode Island, until Alvin Sr. had a serious heart attack. Alvin Jr. then decided to sell the manufacturing portion of the business, and started to sell off the mobile home parks.
Alvin Jr. and Eileen's daughter, Karen, begins helping out with the family business as a young girl.
Alvin Jr. builds a 4.5 acre facility at the current location in Plainville, Massachusetts, focusing the business on RV sales and service. Karen Macdonald begins working at the business full-time.
Alvin Jr. makes the wise decision to leave the Shasta product line and begin selling Sun-Lite Travel Trailers, a popular light-weight option for many years.
Karen Macdonald becomes owner of Macdonald's RV Center, expanding to sell even more popular RV brands.
Pete's RV Center acquires Gayle Kline RV, our fifth dealership in Mountville, Pennsylvania.