Explore the Great Outdoors with McKeever RV and Marine
“We opened in 2021 with three truck campers and one travel trailer on the ground. That’s all we had. Now we’ve got over 200 pieces of inventory. It’s been a real blessing how much we’ve grown.”
The challenges of building a successful business are not lost on Kerry McKeever, founder of McKeever RV and Marine. While the growth of his dealership has been extraordinary, many years and a lot of effort have gone into laying the groundwork of where he is today.
After getting his start in the world of RVs in 2003, he spent almost two decades cutting his teeth at various dealerships around the West Coast until the time was right to step out on his own. When a potential site in Clanton, AL fell through, he returned to an area he’d been visiting for much of his life: East Tennessee.
“I’ve always loved East Tennessee,” Kerry explains. “We were looking for property when I found a vacant mobile home dealership here in Sweetwater. It was a good location. It had some infrastructure, and we made a deal. But then COVID hit. Building costs skyrocketed, and all of a sudden, our builders wouldn’t work for twice what they quoted us.”
For Kerry, the difficulties of the pandemic weren’t just limited to building costs. There was also initially a major decline in the RV industry, along with supply chain issues that created significant problems around securing inventory.
“It was the best and worst time to open, because inventory was extremely difficult to come by,” Kerry remembers. “Luckily we had some strong relationships, and we were able to get off the ground. A vacant horse trailer dealership became available – also in Sweetwater – in an excellent location right on the interstate, which helped solve the building costs issue. The RV industry rebounded past what was expected. We’ve been growing ever since.”
Only two years since its founding, McKeever RV and Marine is enjoying a projected annual revenue of over $11M, with more than 25 full-time employees and four robust divisions, including Sales, Service, Parts, and Finance. Needless to say, the outlook is more than positive.
But Kerry is clear that the success hasn’t all been down to him. A reliable banking partner is also vital. And he makes sure to credit SouthState’s Tim Dollins, VP, SBA Relationship Manager as an important source of expertise throughout his recent journey.
“I found Tim in an online search,” says Kerry. “I called him, and it could not have been a better fit. SouthState is able to understand the vision of a new business when other banks may not. Tim gave me guidance, and we looked at a lot of different options.”
With two SBA 7(a) loans from SouthState, Kerry was able to purchase the property for the dealership, as well as set money aside for equipment, bring in additional parts inventory, and boost the business’s operating capital. Using the loans strategically has helped position Kerry for sustained growth as quickly as possible.
“It helps when you have a strong borrower,” Tim says. “Kerry knows his industry exceptionally well. He understands the market. His experience and positivity make it easier to help him get things done. And when it comes time to think about another location, I’m looking forward to being there with him.”
SouthState helps businesses like McKeever RV and Marine reach their full potential. To learn more, contact an SBA lender today.