By Machelle James
This moment in our lives is so surreal, I have goosebumps sharing it with you. As new business owners, you sometimes forget the pain you went through while building your business. While we are still technically building, we are open for business and still trying to get our name out there.
Something magical happened
Well, today, something magical happened. Our campground billboard was installed along the highway and we didn’t even know it! We had several people drive in and turn around and leave, but that is pretty normal once they see our STOP sign. However, when AJ went to Ace Hardware later that day, he saw our MASSIVE billboard and pulled over to take a picture. He came back home with a wickedly huge grin and I knew something was up. He showed me the photo and I was speechless! How did that happen without us knowing? I was so excited to see it, but I couldn’t leave the Campground yet as I was with guests.
An hour later, I jumped in the truck, drove down the highway, looking for a place to pull over. I was tense. Is this really happening? Do we really have our business on a BILLBOARD? As I pulled over to the parking area, I was shocked at how BIG it is! I stared through the windshield and my eyes filled with tears. How the heck did we do this? How the heck did we pull it off?
I fumbled for my phone to take a picture and I jumped out of the truck with so much gusto, I was practically walking on air! As the cars drove by, I was waving, I was jumping up and down, I was pointing at the billboard, giving fake high fives to pretend hands. They probably thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care. There we are for the whole world to see—and what a brilliant way to show the world you are open for business!
Phones at the park have been ringing off the hook
After the celebration that evening, our phones have been really been ringing off the hook. It’s been a mix of calls of folks wanting to live here and those who want to come here for vacation getaways. We have folks that drive in wanting a tour of the place for a future vacation, and those that live nearby that want to have their friends and family stay here. Regardless, that billboard is working!
AJ and I have been busy working on the underground conduit, working inside the park store and ordering inventory. We had to pull mule tape through 600 feet of conduit for fiber-optic to be used for our upgraded Wi-Fi system. That was hilarious in itself, and our concerned campers and retired electricians offered their expertise to make it easier for us.
Apparently, the trick is to use a shop vac to suck the string through the conduit to one end. Well, we learned that a shopping bag, tied to the end of thin string, works as a weight to pull the string to the other end with the shop vac on. Then, you suck back the feed of string, with the wire you need, attached to the string. When the string comes back, you have to manually pull up the wires through a conduit pipe and pray the string doesn’t break. (It didn’t, but it sure felt like it would!)
We did this at least 20 times, with only 6 times being successful. We did this same process for the electrical wire and the CAT6 wire to our house. Some of you know what I am talking about. It was frustrating yet very satisfying when we figured out how to make it work!
AJ installed the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the park store and WOW, does it look good! He cut out the areas for lights and made ceiling fan holders for the HUGE fans we bought.
We also had the electric company out here to green tag our meter box and to energize the circuit that comes into the store. What that means is that we should have electricity to the store in a day or two! Oh, how nice it will be to turn on a light switch and not have electrical cords all over the place!
It also means we can have the ice freezer delivered and we can start selling ice from the porch (which is where it will stay).
Partnerships for merchandise in the park store
Another announcement is that we just partnered with a company called KnucKL-EyeZ to sell quality goggles that are made for off-roading, skiing, trail riding, etc. We are over the moon about this, as the goggles we have now are terrible with the dirt that gets inside the lens and then gets inside your eyes. These will not do that, we were told. And we have had many other happy customers tell us the same thing! We have three more partnerships coming and we will announce those as soon as all the merchandise arrives!
As we prepare for Mother’s Day weekend, we will have surprises for our Mom’s that will be here to celebrate them as they stay with us. We also want to make sure we wish our Mom’s out there a very Happy Mother’s Day. May you get to relax, enjoy some good food and do whatever you want for your special day!
Thank You for following our Campground Journey and See You in the Trees!
And please leave a comment!
AJ, Machelle and Jenna
Read previous articles here.
Machelle James and her husband, AJ, built, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them at their website, or on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park, or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.