We understand when people have had a rough day or are cranky, Rick said.. Once they settle in, they change their tune.
Working for a year for no pay may seem like a crazy idea, but to Rick Leclair, it was exactly what he needed to do. Rick and Sharon Leclair are the owners of the Washington / Pittsburg KOA since fall of 2003. Though they traveled the country for 12 years as RVers, the couple was unsure whether campground ownership was for them.
Rick knew the owner of the KOA was planning to retire, and he approached him about purchasing the campground. Rather than risk owning an incompatible business, Rick chose to work for free a year before making a decision. "I learned the business for that year, and when everything came through, we just stepped right in and took over," Rick said. "It was one of the best moves I ever made."
Rick said the allure of campground ownership is his ability to control his schedule. "It gives me a lot of freedom to do what I want on a daily basis," he said. "Really nothing has to be done today except taking care of the customer. We really enjoy the people and the work."
Their frequent RV travels make them sympathetic campground owners. "We understand when people are coming off the road and have had a rough day or are cranky," Rick said. "We try to put them at ease and don't take things to heart. Once they settle in, every one of them, they change their tune."
They feel the best part of their KOA is its beauty, especially the rolling hills. Rick said their friendliness makes them stand out.
"We really enjoy the people. That comes through when people meet us at the campground. We greet people like they are our friends, and that makes them want to come back," he said. And they have the return camper numbers to prove it.
A huge country/western music fan, Rick can often be found around a big fire with his guitar playing singing. More often than not, campers join in. "Even though we work and live in a campground, we still enjoy a good fire," he said.