THUNDER BAY - Fifty-odd years ago a local Thunder Bay resident established a recreational vehicle business to cater to Northwestern Ontario’s love for camping and the outdoors.
“Woody’s Trailer World”, as it was called back in the day, is ready for a new look after new ownership paving the way for a revamped business. 2021 saw Woody’s being revamped into a new look under a new modified name, “Woody’s Marine and RV.”
New owners Murray and Cindy Gleeson along with Corey and Becky Jonasson, took over the dealership back in October 2021 after the previous owner was ready for retirement. The Gleeson couple were both looking for a change from the mundane grind of a nine-to-five job, and in the market to own their own local business once again; Corey had worked at Woody’s for the past 10 years; Murray had known the previous owner since he was a child.
“In 2018 we bought our first trailer. In 2019 we bought our first pontoon boat from Woody’s. We have grown to love our outdoor lifestyle, – so a dive into the marine and trailer business seemed to be a tailor-made choice. We thought this would be a unique industry to get our feet dipped in. We have developed a beautiful, strong friendship with Corey through our boat purchase and we have learned a lot about trailers and RVs in the first six months. It was certainly daunting in the beginning and funny enough, Murray did not even know the difference between the front of the trailer and the back. Now, he pulls around three to four trailers per week, so we are proud of ourselves,” Cindy laughs.
The pandemic had a significant impact on travel and tourism, and the RV business was no stranger to it. As this is the luxury goods industry, along with the impact of inflation, has led to RVs and trailers being the first expenses in most cases to be scrapped from the personal budget. The production process around the globe has steadily decreased due to parts demand-supply shortages. six to eight months’ delay in shipping and vaccination rules has resulted in a backlog for new inventory.
“We didn’t have a lot of RVs, and in order to draw customers back, we had to order a whole bunch of new units. We have some of the best, top-line trailers coming in, but due to the shortage crisis around the world, we have seen some delays as well. At times, we have to drive as far as Indiana a couple of times a week to bring trailers here. We placed all the orders in October, and we still have only 50 per cent on the lot now. We sell memories and experiences. To see the families’ eyes light up when their new trailer or boat arrives is what we strive for,” she adds.
Being outdoors is a major part of Northwestern Ontario’s culture, and ‘Woody’s Marine and RV’ is back in full business to provide luxury and comfort for the families who share the same love for the outdoors and camping. The company, under the new leadership, is an authorized dealer for Princecraft boats, Mercury motors, Keystone Hideout trailers, Forest River Salem trailers and East to West RV’s Della Terra and Alta trailers.
The new owners know they have a lot of work ahead of them, but they are confident they will succeed and they will have fun along the way!