Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32Campground Overview Name: Jellystone Park at DogwoodValley Address: 4185Twp. Rd. 99, Mount Gilead, OH 43338 Number of sites: 202; 177 RV sites, 15 tent sites and 10 cabins Season: May 1-Oct. 15 Physical description:The park features 78 acres of wooded resort property with RV, tent and cabin camping.The park offers shady, rugged walking and hiking trails, two heated swim- ming pools, two waterslides, daily activities, themed weekends, a spring-fed, six-acre fishing and swim- ming lake, a ceramics room, cabins, full-hookup and primitive sites. Rates:Tent sites $38 individual to $130 groups; RV sites $42-$90; Rental units $85-$150, all depending on sites and season. Additional charges for more than two adults and four children. Website: Contact: 419-946-5230, [email protected] WCM April 2017 - 29 • Real Rustic Log Cabins • Turn-Key! • Durable and Appealing • Highly Profitable • Pays Off Within 1-3 Years Real Log Park Model Cabins 717-445-5522 • Park Model Cabins starting at $21,900 Located in Lancaster, PA number of sites and cabins.” After all, the industry is on an up- swing,Richadded,andtheycontinually work to upgrade the park to meet people’s expectations. “We try to redo anywhere from 10-15 campsites each year to have the proper requirements.” This year the Felbers have plans to pavethemainroadsinsidethepark,add new commercial paddleboats and a Wibits recreation area for the lake, as well as expand the bandwidth of their commercial-classWi-Fi. They have also reconstructed their waterfront to make alargerbeach,boardwalkanddeckarea. Dogwood Valley’s growth has come from not only great hospitality and hard work,butalsofromrefiningtheirmarket and their activities, again using other campground owners as inspiration. “Ifthereisonethingwehavelearnedit isyouhavetobeflexibleandgowherethe market takes you,” Rich said. “Balance that with the fact that every campground isdifferentandthekeyistonotbesome- thing you’re not. Be who you are.” Nancy strongly encourages other park owners to join their state and national campground owners’ associa- tions as well as a 20 Group as these have all been tremendous resources for the Felbers. She also suggested owners should visit as many campgrounds as possible and to stay on top of trends. When they are traveling, the Felbers stop to visit other parks and always learn something from successful operators. “Sinceweareallinthehospitalitybusi- ness, we find park operators are more than happy to show us their parks, share theirideas,andofferhelpfulsuggestions,” Nancyadded. —LeannePhillips WCM to offering a great deal of education at symposiums and at spring meetings. The characters provide a draw, too. “And it’s not just the kids that want a picture with Yogi Bear – it’s the adults who watched him on TV when they were kids,” Rich noted. The Felbers appreciate that camping at a Jellystone park like theirs offers that simplefun,providingfamiliesthechance to build memories — like their own childhoods — withYogi Bear included. “I would have not imagined it not having grown up in a camping family, butwhenyouseehowmuchsimplefun everyone has, you want to offer that,” Nancy said. A Surprising Family Legacy When the Felbers decided to buy the park, their hope was to start something ongoing in which their family members could play important roles. But they’ve been surprised by the effect Dogwood Valley has had on their own family. TheirdaughterSaraandherhusband Nick took an early interest in managing the park.Working with them and seeing their grandchildren learn about the campground sector has been icing on the cake for Rich and Nancy, who have five children and 10 grandchildren. Over the last two years, the Felbers have passed along day-to-day manage- ment of the park to Sara and Nick. As owners of a family business, they are never really off the clock. Their hard work and dedication have set an entrepreneurial example for their children and grandchildren. “It has truly changed our grandchil- dren’slives,”Nancysaid.“Theyseewhat ittakestorunafamilybusiness—seven days a week, long hours, and filling in when someone can’t work their shift.” The Felbers want to make sure a stay at their park lives up to their guests’ expectations. They said they work to keep in mind how important that vaca- tionistoguestsandstrivetoprovidethe best experience possible for visitors. “Youhavetohaveamindforhospital- ity,”Richsaid.“Wewillhavepeoplecome to us to camp sometimes for one night because that’s all they can afford. They want their child to have as much fun as they did when they were there as a kid and we want to ensure that happens.” One thing is clear – people keep comingtoDogwoodValleyandthepark is experiencing growing pains. “We built an activity building and we’veoutgrownit,”Richsaid.“Wehavea pavilion and it needs to be larger as well. A ceramics room is also now too small.” Still, these are good problems to have, his wife noted. “The business is strong and it’s driving us to make im- provements and larger improvements than we ever dreamed we would have needed,” she said. “There is an ever-in- creasing number of families camping and we’re continually upgrading sites, enlarging facilities and expanding our The tubular waterslide was one of manyattractionstheFelbersadded. The shaded campsites are part of what made the owners–andguests–fallinlovewiththeproperty.