RV Business Articles in Billings, MT

Quality Dealer of the Year

(Reprinted from RV Business Magazine - January 1995)

As a life-long RV enthusiast and the beneficiary of the family RV Dealership, it was perhaps predictable that Mark Bretz, President and General Manager of Bretz RV & Marine, would someday be a strong contender for Quality Dealer of the Year. Predictable for everyone but Mark himself. 

Based in scenic Billings, Montana, Mark Bretz acknowledges that their location has been a definite plus in helping sustain RV sales since his father founded the business in 1967. Mark comments, "I'm an ardent RV'er, I've logged as much as 20,000 miles in one year."
 
"RV'ing is fun, but I never thought I would be RV'ing for my livelihood."
                                   
"RV'ing is fun, but I never thought I would be RV'ing for my livelihood. I was going to be a banker. I grew up in the business," Mark observed. "When I was six years old my parents bought their first RV, and when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said I wanted to go camping. So I started with an enthusiasm for RV'ing, but really didn't think that one day I'd be running the largest RV and Marine dealership in the Northwest. I never dreamed I'd be presented with the Quality Dealer of the Year award awarded to me by my peers in the RV industry."

When Mark entered college, he planned for a career in banking, but when he found that his parents needed some help with the family business, which was going through some tough times, he changed his plans. Mark remembers "I finally came to the point where I decided that were either going to make a success of our business or get our of the RV business altogether."

Destiny appeared to have guided Mark in the right direction. Since taking over the reigns of the family business in 1982, the company has enjoyed steady growth and success. Today, Bretz RV and Marine has between 50 and 75 employees seasonally and an inventory that has increased tenfold in the last ten years.

"My philosophy is to always operate with both hands on top of the table and treat the customer honestly and fairly. At the same time, we strive to be very aggressive in pricing our RVs' and boats against the competition. We can, and do, give our customers the lowest prices they will find on any similar product."

The secret of Bretz' success is very simple. Mark explains, "My philosophy is to always operate with both hands on top of the table and treat the customer honestly and fairly. At the same time, we strive to be very aggressive in pricing our RV's and boats against the competition. We can, and do, give our customers the lowest prices they will find on any similar product. We spend a lot of money on advertising to encourage new people to come and try the RV lifestyle. Many do and are hooked for life. What better way to grow with your family than on RV'ing vacations? And what a better way to spend your retirement than having the freedom to tour the country in your very own motorhome or travel trailer?"

Being the largest RV and Marine dealer in Montana, Idaho, E.Washington, Wyoming & the Dakotas has its responsibilities, too. Bretz RV & Marine has a twenty-six bay service center specifically designed for the repair and maintenance of large RV's and has a parts department worth more than most other dealership's total unit inventory value. Bretz is continually training and certifying their technicians so customers can be assured they have the best people working on their RV. In fact, the Bretz reputation is known all over the country. Many RV'ers plan their trips through Billings just so Bretz RV & Marine can check and service their rigs. 

Mark realized early on that if the family business was going to grow, he needed to know more about the RV industry. Since there are no college courses on running an RV dealership, Mark contacted a consultant to help him out. The first thing the consultant did was send Mark to a large dealership in Arizona. Mark worked there as a salesman and learned a lot about meeting customer's needs and managing a large, successful RV operation. Mark came back with an "I can do that too" attitude. The rest is history. 

Knowing that the RV industry needed new people with fresh ideas, Mark accepted a position on the RVDA national board of directors. One of the areas Mark has been most active is in the program to offer certification for RV technicians. Mark felt that the RV'ing public needed some way to judge the quality of RV service centers. A national certification program was designed and Bretz RV & Marine employs more certified personnel than all other dealers in the state of Montana combined. 

Mark has also served on the board, and was past president of the Montana Manufactured Housing and Recreational Vehicle Association. During his terms of these state and national boards, he has helped to kill a federal sales tax on RVs' and keep RV licensing in Montana affordable. 

 

Priority RV Dealer Network is named No. 1 RV Dealer Cooperative Group by Statistical Surveys in 2011.


 
About RV Business Magazine:
RV Business Magazine delivers breaking RV industry news, and is the premier, print-and-online, business-to-business voice of the North American recreational vehicle arena. They provide the most up-to-date information (print and online) regarding RV manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers' reps, campground operators, service outlets and trade associations involved in the fast-paced RV sector. RV Business magazine is located in northern Indiana RV manufacturing center of Elkhart, Indiana.