For Ray Bunney, the main appeal of an RV is freedom. With an RV, you can go anywhere and stay as long as you please. It's not like renting a condo or flying into some resort; if you don't like where you are, you can pack up and go wherever the road takes you.
"It's all about lifestyle; it's total freedom," Bunney says.
Ray Bunney owns R'nR RV Center with his wife, Jo. When the pair purchased the business in 1991, it had just nine employees and one location in Spokane. It's been a story of constant expansion ever since. R'nR added two new locations in Liberty Lake and Lewiston, Idaho. The business now has 180 employees and is the largest RV dealer in Eastern Washington.
Bunney says he never expected the business to grow this big.
"We had no intentions," he says, "never thought we'd get past 50 employees, let alone 180."
Bunney attributes the continued success to R'nR's commitment to customer service. Unlike some RV dealerships, R'nR has a large focus on parts and service. The business has 63 service bays between its three locations, and a team of technicians who service brakes, tires, chassis, fiberglass and paint jobs on top of normal RV repairs.
"A lot of dealers put the RV superstore name on their building, but they can't do what we do," Bunney says.
Demand for RVs skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. Crowdsourced data from Payscale shows that RV technician was the third-fastest growing job category of 2020, just behind health screeners and personal shoppers. Bunney says demand is still high and that supply chains are still struggling to keep up. You might not be allowed to go to restaurants, baseball games or bars, but you can always go to the woods.
Bunney says smaller camper vans are the current craze in the RV world. Check out #vanlife on Instagram, and you'll find over 10 million picturesque shots of millennials eschewing traditional homes for a life on the road.
If the freedom of an RV sounds appealing to you, the Inland Northwest is the perfect place to give it a shot. Bunney says an abundance of lakes, rivers and mountains makes the area especially well suited to the RV lifestyle.
"The nice thing about the Northwest is we have any kind of recreation people would want to do, so whether they're into horses, boats, snowmobiles, fishing, camping — the Northwest has it all," Bunney says.
2nd PLACE: Clickit RV; 3rd PLACE: Appleway RV; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Blue Dog RV, Post Falls