Definitions for the term ‘entrepreneurism’ are wide-ranging. One comes from World Scientific, which states entrepreneurism is a way of life to sustain humanity through a constant pursuit of innovation and creativity, not just for personal gain but also for the common good. The new Gavins Point Recreational Center has fulfilled that pursuit in the recreational vehicle market in the Yankton, South Dakota area.
“Yankton is the second-most camped area in South Dakota, and we saw an opportunity to give residents and tourists an opportunity to get local service or find a new RV,” said the local Gavins Point Recreational Center owner. “And we were confident in Yankton’s ability to help us be successful.”
Gavins Point is an RV dealership, service and parts provider, along with trailer and camping apparel sales starting in March 2021. Owners did not move into the $2 million custom facility for sales and servicing until the second week of May. The business is off to a successful start. Although the Gavins Point Recreational Center team knew there was great opportunity for this business venture in Yankton, they did not imagine the demand to be as great as it has been.
“Our business plan was to start with 10 full-time employees, and now we are up to 20 with two openings,” said ownership.
The opportunity the Gavins Point Recreational Center owners saw centered on what the Yankton area provides. The Lewis and Clark Lake and the recreation surrounding it brings nearly two million tourists each year. Many come to camp, with 10,000 camping spots in a five-mile radius near the lake spread out among state parks and other campgrounds. While COVID-19 was certainly a stress point, it did provide camping opportunities, evidenced by a 22% increase in the RV industry in South Dakota over the last year.
“When people couldn't do other things, they knew they could go outdoors or go camping,” stated one of the owners.
The passion for camping is a result of the unique nature of Lewis and Clark Lake.
“Unlike places like the Lake of the Ozarks and Lake Okoboji, there is little commercial development on the lake, which makes it more peaceful and gives the opportunity to be more out in the beautiful nature of the area,” said management. “But the favorite family activities like go-karts, golf and ice cream shops are nearby and open Memorial Day to Labor Day.”
The opportunity the Gavins Point Recreational Center team saw went deeper than just starting a business. They also saw the chance to bring permanent careers with good wages and benefits to persons at their facility and in the construction of the facility.
One of the owners proudly mentioned the construction of our facility was completed with all local contractors. “We believe that if you give good opportunities for others, that you will be rewarded in the future.”
Yankton and South Dakota have a similar attitude of helping out others in local communities. Community acceptance for the Recreational Center has been huge, with excitement from customers, the Chamber of Commerce & Yankton Area Progressive Growth (both organizations have since merged into Yankton Thrive), and the city council.
“There is a passion for growth and a passion for tourism here,” said the facility manager. “The local Chamber of Commerce and economic development groups like YAPG have been excellent for us, providing pertinent information as we began our business plan development, to sharing our job openings or promotions with the community now.”
That excitement continues at Gavins Point as the peak camping season progresses.
“The tremendous growth in demand for our services speaks to the passion of tourism in Yankton,” said ownership. “We are excited to offer service opportunities and meet the needs of campers and other tourists.”