He sells a lifestyle.
“It’s something we have to paint a picture of,” he said. “You’re selling fun.”
As the owner of Dream RV on 6120 State Road 64 E., Wylie sees more than motorized units when he looks across his seven-acre dealership.
He sees vehicles that fulfill peoples’ dreams and their desire to get away.
“You don’t have to go across country to get away,” Wylie said. “You can go down the road to Myakka State Park and you’re in a different world.”
He contends that “some of your best friends can be the guy you met at the campground on the other side of the country.”
Wylie started the business in 1998 with his significant other, Peggy Paulson. He had worked as the general manager of a larger RV dealer in Venice and was burned out, but he didn’t want to leave the area.
So with $100,000 of his own money he opened Dream RV on U.S. 41 in Bradenton with a meager five RVs. He did so well that five years later he expanded to his current location on State Road 64.
“I started on a shoestring,” Wylie said. “You couldn’t do today what I did then because you would have to have substantial funding.”
Wylie believes part of his success is due to his aggressive marketing and pricing. He advertises across the country and goes to lots of trade shows. He has sold RVs to people who live as far away as Alaska and Europe.
The RVs can range from $4,000 to $5,000 rugged pop-up campers to $130,000 deluxe homes-on-wheels that sleep eight and are completely self-contained.
The company has a service department to provide maintenance for its customers’ vehicles.