b'BUSINESS INSIGHTS nBY BEN QUIGGLEFriends Develop Blue Sky RV Living; Mini-Merch Offers Customizable ItemsAfter operating a multi-family prop- The game room at Blue Sky at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points, Texas.ertymanagementbusinesscalledthe LeafGroupforyears,Tim Hatchand Louie Divino began thinking it might be time to expand into the outdoor hospi-tality industry. Along with partners Mark Halford and Guy Oberg, some of whom were brothers in the same college fraternity, the group begancraftingastrategycenteredLeft to right: Guy Oberg, Mark Halford, Tim around acquiring RV parks.Hatch and Louie Divino. Wewantedtodevelopastrategy based around the idea of aggregating a portfolioofinstitutionalqualityRV parks, Halford explained to Woodalls Campground Magazine (WCM). We had the near-term objective of identifying at-tractive opportunities in Texas and now I think we are ready to explore other mar-kets. The group, currently working under the moniker Blue Sky RV Living, bought its first park in San Marcos, Texas, in De- cludes 250 sites.industry with imagination and a largebe difficult to accomplish that, but were cember of 2020, Canyon Trail RV Park.It is more of a monthly park, Halfordcanvas that it is creating all these spacesin the process and we just hired a project Currently, the group now owns foursaid. Oneoftheuniquepartsoftheon.manager to help us with all the various parks including Canyon Trail; Blue Sky atproperty is that it has steel frame coversWe are seeing a growth in the RVdevelopments weve got going on, he ex-Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points; I-35that shade 86 of the sites. It can get hot,lifestyle, and it is not just recreational,plained. If we get bogged down with RV Park and Campground in Waco; andso those shades definitely help.now there is a true desire-based lifestyleeverything weve got on our plate right a park the group is developing in JohnsonHalford noted that the group is inter- with the influx of distance learning andnow, it might be less. But if we latch onto City.ested in pursuing sites outside of theworking, he explained. Wherever theya portfolio acquisition or something like The Johnson City, Texas, park sits onstate of Texas, but that nothing has comedesire to live, they want to go and livethat, then maybe it will be more. about 25 acres, and it is going to includetogether yet.there in an RV park, and we want to takeYou can learn more about Blue Sky RV 150high-endRVsitesand40to50We have kicked a lot of tires in Geor- that experience to the next level. We bringliving at www.blueskyrvliving.com WCMglamping units, Halford noted.gia, the Carolinas, Colorado and we areexperience from the multifamily busi-The Blue Sky at Cedar Creek Lake wascurrently looking at a park in Kentucky,ness of the customer service needs. What originally developed by another individ- so we are very open to going into otherthey want, what they need on a long-ual but never opened to the public. It in- markets, he explained. Its just a matterterm and short-term basis, how you in-cludes 150-plus RV sites and the groupof finding the right ones and having theterface with the customeretc. That is plans to add 50 to 60 more sites. Halfordresources to be able to properly operatewhere our imagination leads us. Thats said that it was purchased in Septemberand manage them.what were going to gravitate to every sin-2021 and that the group is currently fin- Hatch noted that while each park isgle day. ishing all the work on the various ameni- very unique and caters to a specific clien- Looking to the future, Halford said that ties the park will have when it opens.tele at the moment, the group plans tothe group plans to buy another six to 10 Blue Sky RV Livings Waco, Texas, parkhave more consistency. Divino noted toparks in 2022. was acquired in early January and in- WCM that the group is moving into thisFrom a capacity standpoint, it might Mini-Merch was started in 2020 with the idea of helping businesses expand their merchandise offerings, according to founder Tony Garber.Mini-Merch, based in Columbus, Ohio, helps businessescreatecus-tom merch and special-izes in tiny merchandise like pins, patches, stick-ers,magnetsandkey-chains.We make big merch, Tony Garber too, with a catalog full of apparel, promotional products and acces-sories, explained Garber. Park owners can benefit from promotional merchan-dise like pins and stickers. Small merch, but big margins! Many travelers pick up pins, patches and stickers, and have col-lections from their travels. Whilemanysmallbusinesseshave been impacted by supply chain issues, Garber noted that Mini-Merch has largely avoided those problems and has a three-to-four-weekturnaroundoncustom prints and die struck metals.We can make pins, patches and stick-ers of any logo, shape or size, Garber highlighted. Those tend to be the best-sellers as far as the outdoor hospitality in-dustry goes. Youcanlearnmoreatwww.mini-merch.com or reach out to Garber directly at tony@mini-merch.com 614-354-4468.WCM14 April 2022 Woodalls Campground Magazine'