We’ll kick off this week’s Property Lines with news of Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, which is investing more than $5 million in a new showroom on its 17-acre campus to keep up with the industry’s runaway growth.
The dealership, at 5935 W. 225 North, just off of Interstate 70, will begin construction this fall on the 37,000-square-foot building and should wrap up the project next summer. It will include a 10,000-square-foot showroom, a 4,500-square foot parts store, 20 sales offices, a customer lounge, children’s play areas and a nursery. The existing showroom will be demolished after the new one opens.
“Quite simply, we’ve outgrown our current sales building and decided the timing was right to modernize and expand our facility,” Mount Comfort RV owner Ken Eckstein told IBJ.
Construction will not affect the dealership’s 18-bay service facility and four-bay body shop, which occupy separate on-site buildings. But the new building will give the dealership the ability to reclaim two of its service bays. Those bays are being used for parts receiving and storage because the existing sales and parts facility doesn’t have enough storage space, Eckstein said.
Mount Comfort RV has seen considerable growth since 2006, when Eckstein established the business by purchasing the assets of the former Mark’s RV. In 2006, Eckstein said, the dealership had 17 employees and fewer than 60 RVs for sale. Today, it has 58 full-time employees and more than 450 vehicles for sale.
Eckstein said he expects to hire several more salespeople and service technicians once the new building is complete, bringing total staffing in the range of 70 to 80 people. The new building will have enough space for about 100 employees, leaving room for future growth.
What’s happening at Mount Comfort RV is a reflection of the industry as a whole, which has seen a huge rebound since the Great Recession, Eckstein said.
According to the RV Industry Association, 2018 will mark the ninth straight year of growth for the industry. RV manufacturers will ship 539,900 vehicles this year-- 7 percent more than in 2017—and they are expected to ship more than 550,000 vehicles next year, the association says.
Now, on to other retail news:
— The gourmet popcorn shop Just Pop In! has opened Popcorn Café at its new Broad Ripple store, 6406 Cornell Ave. Menu items include meat-and-cheese plates, vegetables and hummus; bagels; salads; wine, beer and cocktails; and food intended to appeal to children.
Sisters Carly Swift and Mandy Selke started Just Pop In! in 2003. In addition to their Broad Ripple store, they have a vendor’s cart at Indianapolis International Airport; and their products are available at more than a dozen Indianapolis-area establishments.
— The PGA Tour Superstore, at 3298 E. 82nd St. in the Clearwater Crossing Shopping Center, will have its grand opening Sept. 22. This will be the golf retailer’s first Indiana store. It’s taking over a 36,000-square-foot spot formerly occupied by Babies “R” Us. IBJ first announced the retailer's arrival in June. PGA Tour Superstore, which is based in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Georgia, currently has 35 stores in 14 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
— Tractor Supply Co. plans to open another area store, this one at 16 Ridge Ave. in the Hendricks County community of Danville. Construction is expected to begin this month on the 19,097-square-foot store. If all goes according to schedule the store should open in Spring 2019, a company spokeswoman told IBJ.
Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Tractor Supply Co. owns and operates more than 1,700 stores in 49 states (it has none in Alaska). The retailer has 10 local stores: one each in Indianapolis, Greenwood, Greenfield, Franklin, Plainfield, Mooresville, Noblesville, Westfield, Anderson and Rushville.
— Jack’s Donuts opened its newest local shop Sept. 11 in the Stafford Crossing shopping center at 2230 Stafford Road just east of State Road 267. The owners of this franchised location are Chris and Alicia Hummel and their friends Scott and Samantha Quinn, all of Plainfield. The group includes Chris Hummel’s cousin, Spencer King, who lives on the west side of Indianapolis.
The Hummels also own the Jack’s Donuts at InTech Park, located near the southwest corner of the West 71st Street/I-465 interchange.The New Castle-based company has 18 locations in Indiana, including Indianapolis, Anderson, Avon, Bloomington, Brownsburg, Carmel, Connersville, Fishers, Greenfield, Greenwood, Muncie and Westfield. Jack’s also has two shops in Utah: one in Kaysville and one in South Jordan.
— The women’s boutique Lesley Jane opened Sept. 10 at the Fashion Mall at Keystone, and a grand opening is set for Sept. 27. This will be a second location for the retailer, which also has a shop at 150 S. Main St. in Zionsville. Lesley Jane Hunt owns both stores.
— Circle Centre mall announced this week that it’s adding a seasonal Halloween store and two entertainment venues. On the third floor of the mall, Michigan-based bounce-house operator Colby Bounce will open in October. Also coming soon is Bumper Cars, which the mall describes as “a hands-on, new entertainment option from Greenwood.”
Spirit Halloween is opening this weekend and will remain open through the end of October. Spirit Halloween, which has about 1,300 stores in the U.S. and Canada, is owned by the novelty-store chain Spencer Gifts LLC.
— Finally, a noteworthy but not retail-related grand re-opening: Perry Park, at 451 E. Stop 11 Road on the city’s south side, will have a grand reopening for its ice rink from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 29. The rink's public skating schedule begins Oct. 1. The rink is typically open from October through March, but last year the facility experienced ice-making problems. Indy Parks and Recreation closed the rink in December for major repairs.