26 - May 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management passed away. “During the two years we lived in the park with her, she was able to teach us some of the ‘ins and outs’ of running the business,” saidSueRandall.“Asanonlychild,Iinherited the park; not having to purchase it was a positive way to begin.” But it was not always a foregone conclu- sion that Randall would succeed her parents inthefamilybusiness.Randallhadwondered if she would enjoy owning and operating it. She wondered if she could be successful. “The answers to both questions were ‘yes’,” said Randall. “It has become a career and business that has for the most part been enjoyableandprofitableforbothmyhusband and me.” From the beginning, Sue and Jim were deliberateaboutmakingplanstotakecareof themselves and their family business when it cametimetoretire.Theyrecommendallpark owners begin discussing the succession process early with family members. “Don’t ignore the topic, naively thinking we will all live forever,” said Sue. “Ask family members if they are interested in taking over the park. Sometimes different personalities will determine the way family members can benefit the park. It has to be a win-win for them and you.” That is advice Larry Brownfield, Kamp- grounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) director of franchise development, can get behind. He has seen the aftermath of a business left behind to people who were either unwilling or unable to manage it, sometimes both. “Ifyoudonotaddresssuccessionthrough estate planning or through a deliberate plan where all parties know prior to one’s death ‘It is important to be cognizant of the fact that it typically takes three to five years for a campground to sell and for the succession process to be completed,’ noted Amy Wirtz, a certified exit planning advisor at Ohio-based Family & Business Success. In 1965, when Warren and Lucy Douce opened their property in Galloway, Ohio, to campers, Alton RV Park was born. Situated on three acres of land, they installed new roads, sewer, electric and water lines, eventually reaching 35 full hook-up sites. As time went on it became evident that they would need some help running the campground. Their daughter, Sue Randall, and her husband, Jim, eventually came and helpedLucyruntheparkin2004afterWarren Succession Planning Can Give Park Owners Piece of Mind as They Build Their Business Larry Brownfield