Mike Ferguson Recreation: The Dealership's Story
My parents, Fergy and Faye, were both from the Waco area of Texas. They met in 1940 and two weeks later were married. I came into the picture in 1946. I guess I was a handful because they never had anymore children. Dad had several businesses over the years. His first endeavor was ice. Dad would deliver ice to folks who lived out of town and had no electricity. While in Texas, Dad had a car dealership, auto salvage yard, and the last endeavor was a roller skating rink in Cedar Hill, Texas.
In 1960 Mom and Dad came to California in a Cadillac towing a 4x8 box trailer with everything we owned in it. Dad went to work in Oroville selling mobilehomes to the families working on the construction of the Oroville Dam. We found a house in Paradise, CA that my mom liked. Being from North Texas we were really taken with the trees and Paradise was a lot quieter than Oroville back then.
In High school I played football, wrestled, and even tried track one year. In the summer I would go to Oroville with my dad and wash mobilehomes a couple of days a week. Finding summer work in Paradise was tough. Nobody wanted to hire anyone involved in sports, I really loved football.
Speaking of things that I love, I met the love of my life my junior year in high school. Nancy and I have been married for 45 years.
My dad and I got the idea I could rent small camp trailers that would give me work in the summer. We got a loan and, from my parents back yard I was in business while still going to Paradise High School. It worked. The rental business was a success! I moved to a location just up the Skyway from where I am now. Business went well and I started buying old and used travel trailers, fixing them up and then selling them. Then, there was the FIRE! It made the front page of the Paradise Post that week. One of the rental trailers was destroyed and another damaged. The bank called; I did not have fire insurance for that type of loss and the bank “called the loan in.” I had 60 days to pay everything off. At 18, I liquidated everything and was out of business.
In the process of closing the books on my little business, my parents got the idea that they could open a real trailer sales in Paradise, CA and make a profit. They did and it went well for them. At that time, I was working at a trailer sales in Chico, CA. After a couple months Dad hired me. I was going to Yuba College in Marysville, but started working more and going to school less. Uncle Sam found out and I elected to go into the Coast Guard. That was 1966.
During my first year in the Coast Guard, Nancy and I married. I was stationed in Southern California and Connecticut. At the end of four years we had a daughter, and went back to college. We settled in Fresno. I went to Fresno City College, graduated and then on to Fresno State. At that time, I was working as a cost accountant for a rug mill in Fresno. I found out that I did not like that kind of work and started looking for work in sales. About the same time our second daughter arrived and we really wanted to get settled.
Dad was selling Truck Campers, was making Trailer sales, and new and used Motor Homes by this time. He called us one day and I became the manager of his business. In 1978, Dad sold out to a competitor; They had their own manager, so I moved up the street and started over on my own.
Shortly after starting our business we welcomed our number three daughter. Slowly business became profitable. In mid-year 1980, we made an addition to the work crew, Jim Van Gieson, who still works for me today. At that time we were selling camper shells, RV parts and accessories and offering RV repair services. In 1981 we moved to my Dad’s property where we are now. At that point we were taking RV’s in on consignment and selling them. We also became a Brahma camper shell dealer.
In 1986 we became a dealer of Lance Campers & Trailers. Back in 1986, Lance had only about fifteen west coast dealers. Now Lance has over a hundred in the US and Canada. Since that time we have developed a strong business relationship with Lance, Jack Cole, the president, past and present members of the Lance team. Jack and I still talk regularly. In 2009, we received a National Top Ten Dealer Award from Lance.
We believe the future will dictate lighter RVs. Lance’s new Ultra-Light Weight Travel Trailers are the perfect answer for future high quality affordable travel trailers. The Lance camper is not far behind their trailers in weight advantage, and the quality is still unquestioned.
In 2005 we became and exclusive dealer for Leer Truck Caps and Tonneau Covers.