John and Mercedes Condon were frustrated by their inability to find a decent campsite to use as a home base as they traveled the country, adding to the content on their “RV Odd Couple” website. So, they decided to buy their own campground.
“We are out there, on the road,” said John Condon, a successful contractor who now travels the U.S. with his wife and daughter. “We saw so many in our viewer family without a place to go, too. It’s hard to watch families being stranded or just fighting to find a place to stay.”
The Condons’ loyal “Odd Squad” viewers now total more than 140,000. The RV Odd Couple blog provides them with fun, humorous and informative content and short videos that demonstrate the right and wrong ways to camp.
“I really went down the rabbit hole”
John said he first started thinking about purchasing a campground about a month ago. “I really went down the rabbit hole,” he said. “I found out that buying raw land and starting from scratch is a three- to four-year process to jump through all of the hoops. And that’s if everything goes right.”
“It was a small park in Ider, Alabama,” John said. “The park had closed about three years ago when it just became too much for the couple running it.” He said one of the owners recently passed away, and the park was put up for sale. “It just seemed to be perfect for us.”
Mercedes Condon said the park seems to have “good bones,” but they both know it will take a lot of work – and funding – to bring it back to life.
“It’s an old campground with 30 full-service sites with 30 amps,” John said. “It also has several cottages, a restaurant, and a pool with a concession area.”
One of the main attractions – at least for the Condons – is that the park sits on just a small piece of the 226 acres that comes with the sale.
“It’s just a beautiful piece of land,” he said. Condon feels comfortable making that statement even though he’s never set foot on the property. Mercedes and John made their offer on the property “sight unseen.”
A membership park with a twist
The Condons envision a membership campground model, where their “RV Odd Squad” followers will be able to lease their own specific site at the park. They would then have a reservation system in place to rent a leaseholder’s site to other campers when it wasn’t in use.
The Condons recently laid out their plans for the Alabama park in a video that has already garnered more than 85,000 views. They are currently making their way across the country to stay at the campground and complete the due diligence process before they take possession. “We had to arrange for them to turn the water and electricity back on so we could stay there,” Mercedes said.
“It’s important to us that this be a community endeavor for our Odd Squad members,” she said. “Our viewers really are like our family members. If you watch our videos, you’ll see the connections we make by being honest with our viewers.”
They said their concept of a leased site in northeastern Alabama has already led to promising contacts with more than 1,000 RVers interested in potentially leasing a site.
If all goes according to plan, the Condons plan to set up what amounts to a homeowners’ association to help set the rules and regulations for the campground.
“We want to build a solid foundation with good principles,” John said. “We want this to be a real incubator, something that can be used as a model and duplicated elsewhere.”