Gary and Florence Sinkler started the company in Kalama, Washington, in 1978, selling truck campers and canopies. From there, the business moved to Vancouver, expanded over the years to include travel trailers, fifth wheels, utility trailers, toy haulers and park models, and moved to its current location in Kelso in 1997.
What has remained constant is the family involvement. Gary’s son, Terry, 37, started working in the business when he was 10 and now manages it. Terry’s wife, Julie, also works in the business; his mother, Florence, is there every day, too, and even his father, Gary, although largely retired, still helps out from time to time. And now Terry and Julie’s three daughters, Christine, Heather and Torie, are starting to learn the family business too.
Family connections also have played a role in the growth of the business. “We get a lot of repeat customers,” Terry Sinkler said, and those customers refer family and friends.
Although RV sales industrywide declined last year, Sinkler said U-Neek RV Center had five of its best sales months ever and a record year. And sales are running even stronger so far this year.
Part of the success is attributed to the company’s approach to sales, which calls for listening carefully to what the customer wants, and finding the right product to meet that need. Sinkler said, “We ask questions and make sure we fit their wants, needs and budget.”
A large inventory helps accomplish this. U-Neek RV Center carries 20 brands, including such names as Fun Finder, Adventurer, Arctic Fox, Northwood, Desert Fox, Nash, Fleetwood, Red Line, Okanagan, Cargomate, Tango, Wilderness, and Breckenridge. Sinkler said U-Neek only carries brands from manufacturers that have a good reputation for backing up their warranties.
U-Neek RV Center occupies three and a half acres along Interstate 5 at the Kelso/Longview exit. In addition to the sales lot, the location has the largest RV parts and accessories store in southwest Washington and a large service facility with a staff of five technicians.
The company is having ongoing promotions this year to celebrate its 30th year and is planning special activities during Labor Day weekend to mark the date the business opened in 1978. U-Neek RV Center is off Interstate exit 36 at 2625 Old Pacific Highway South, in Kelso. The phone number is (800) 248-6335 and the Web site is www.uneekrv.com.