Meet Mollee V in our Women in the RV Industry Series
Mollee Veurink: So, we are going on our 67th year in the RV industry and being here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It all started in 1954 with my Grandpa Howard Veurink. We were a couple miles north of here at a smaller location, and he had three of his five children working for him, and one of them being my dad, who is the only one still in the business right now. And eventually, through time, they outgrew that space and relocated right here, just a few more miles down the road. And now we are on our third generation of the Veurink family, with my brother, Matt Veurink, who’s the General Manager. And we’ve just announced our second location a couple days ago, which is in Newaygo, Michigan, 45 minutes north of here.
When I was in high school, probably 14 years old, my dad put my brother and I to work washing trailers. That was our first job here, and I loved it. And then through high school, I kind of wanted to do something else with my life and my career. And long story short, I kind of went back to school for graphic design. And at the time he had said, “Hey, I don’t know if this is creative enough for you, but we are expanding our marketing, if you’d like to kind of jump in and do graphic design, and branding, and also learn more about the marketing aspect. And he knew that, just because we’re family, that I am not forced to work in the family business. And I said, “You know, it’s an opportunity. The worst thing is, if I don’t like it, and I can kind of find something different.” But I’ve been here now in this doing the creative marketing for going on four to five years, and I absolutely love it. It’s something new every day, whether I’m taking
some inventory photos, I’m doing a walk-through video with some of our sales team– that’s so fun. They have some bloopers here and there. So, at the end of the day, I love it.
We have been doing virtual walk-arounds pretty much, I don’t know, going on ten years. This is something we kind of saw was kind of one of our secrets. It’s something we knew we wanted to provide a different way to engage with the customer, but also to try to reach them. A lot of people are just doing, you know, a standard photo or a blog post. But, you know, with the recent things happening even last year and everything going to virtual, it was kind of second nature to us. So, we noticed customers would rather see a virtual, more face-to-face component to their shopping experience. It’s something where, if they’re watching a video, they can kind of see it more in person. They’re able to build more of an instant rapport and trust with the person trying to sell it. And so, we notice it’s been amazing, and people have been calling off of the videos, and that’s something that works for us. We are a full-service RV dealership. So, we don’t just sell the RVs and the lifestyle. We sell everything else you would need with it, whether you need some camp store parts and accessories, some new chairs, stuff for the campfire, to maybe you want an upgrade to install a Furrion backup camera to make your experience a little bit more fluid and convenient. You can upgrade and work with our service advisors and service techs. We also have the, “Find My RV Parts, Replacement Parts” business, which is if you need those really hard-to-find parts and replacement parts, that is available for you, as well. So, we have a lot of different women here doing– whether it’s administration, camp store managers, and parts managers, I think there are so many opportunities, whether you are a female or you’re not. If you have a special skillset, you know, you need to just go for the opportunity, whether you– I pulled one of my friends, actually, into our dealership. And I said, “I think you’re the right fit for this role, and I think the opportunity is there, if you go after it. Whether you want to work in, you know, the service area, you want to manage a group of people at a manufacturer or a dealership, you can go for that. There’s really nothing stopping you, other than yourself.
You know, being a woman in the industry– and it’s very male-dominated– I always kind of like to say, at the end of the day, I notice men–and like to remind the men that they do need the women. I see it every day, where we’re kind of helping them out. I have noticed more women joining, and I think the RV Women’s Alliance is perfect to connect and network, and that’s why I joined, just because, it’s great to see it from another perspective and their roles in the industry. All I know is the RV dealership side. And so, it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off and have a better understanding and appreciation of what their role is in the industry. At the end of the day, you know, we may be competitors. We may not work or partner with each other, but we all have one common goal, and that is to sell and share the RV lifestyle.
So, it’s been great to see even women be more involved with the RV lifestyle, whether they’re here wanting to buy a camper for themselves, or they are more involved with the buying decision of their family camper. So, it’s really neat to be able to see that come into play. So, with Veurink’s RV Center, we’ve noticed a shift with a lot of the younger families and the younger demographic of, you know, your 28-to 35-year-olds wanting to experience the RV lifestyle. With the recent things happening in the past year, we’ve noticed just a shift of how they want to travel. And with RVing, they can kind of pick up, travel when they want, where they want, and create family memories. That’s the one thing I love about the RV industry is that one family may want to do it very simple and off the grid, where another family might want it a little bit more luxury, and they maybe want to have like your fifth wheel, that has all the bells and whistles, or a motor home. And there’s no right or wrong. So, the RV lifestyle makes it so you can cater to your own taste and liking. And that’s the cool thing about it. Like I said, you want your smaller teardrop or single axle travel trailer to just be able to go from one place to the next, and not really have to think or have an agenda, you can do that. Or if you may want to spend the entire summer at an RV resort in a more, you know, larger fifth wheel or motor home, you can do that.
One of my favorite places to RV, since I was a baby, it was Holland State Park. We would go there every summer for a couple of weeks. I actually just went this past fall, and it brought back a lot of memories. It was a place that was far enough, where it felt like you were kind of on vacation, but it was close enough so my dad could commute to and from work. And that’s a place where a lot of my family memories kind of were created, you know, being out, Pure Michigan. You have the lakeshore. It’s quiet. You have a lot of different areas in Holland to experience and create those family memories. I think my grandfather would be so proud of my brother, my dad, and me, and I really still enjoy it. I think, for me, it’s a little bit more on a personal scale of just being able to, you know, work with my brother, and my dad, and a few other family members and carry on his legacy. I think he’d be up in heaven really proud, just watching us be able to expand and grow our team here. So, it’s very exciting to be able to be a part of that and to actually work in the industry and keep America RVing.