SIERRA RV is a company on the move. When Carl and Geri Jensen began it almost 50 years ago, they hoped they were building something they could pass down to their family. However, it became a little more than that. It is now the largest family-owned and -operated RV dealer in Utah, and as it prepares to expand into a new facility this year, it is poised to become the single largest family-owned RV dealer in the West.
Like most other commercial businesses, Sierra RV faces a few key challenges—a need for exceptional team members, a competitive retail market, and an unpredictable economy. But under the management and co-ownership of Carl and his son Jared, Sierra RV has been able to find solutions to these problems and flourish in the process.
“Over the last 15 years, we’ve grown 20 to 25 percent a year in overall sales,” Jared says, and while he’s obviously proud of everything Sierra RV has accomplished, he’s quick to stress that much of that success is a direct result of the efforts of his outstanding employees. “We wouldn’t be where we are without each person here. We’re currently 54 people working together as a family,” he says. “And that sense of family really motivates us. We laugh. We have a great time. We care about each other, and we know that we’re all helping provide good lives for ourselves and our families, and a great experience for our customers.” Those feelings of family and community are important to Jared, and they greatly influence the personal and professional decisions he makes.
Last year, as Sierra RV was continuing to thrive, Carl, Jared, and their team knew it wouldn’t be long before they outgrew their current location in Sunset. So they began plans to expand into a new location—45-acres with 32 service bays—on 12th Street in Ogden, just west off the Marriott-Slaterville I-15 exit. “I wanted us to be the best in customer service,” Jared says, “not just locally, but nationally. But we were landlocked in our current facility. We needed room to grow into our goals, and the 12th Street location was a perfect fit for us.”
They also knew they would need a business loan to help finance the ambitious project, but Jared says picking a lender was the easy part. “I chose to finance our expansion through America First Credit Union because of the real, personal relationship I knew we could have with them. I’m a member of America First—that’s where I do all of my personal banking—and I knew as a business member I’d have the same great experience and access to the same great community of members. It was comforting to know I’d be able to look across the table into the eyes of people I already trusted and knew I could have a successful business relationship with.”
Jared says Sierra RV loves doing business with a financial institution that shares its attitudes and values. “Overall, America First just feels the same way we do about people. We’re family here, and we do everything we can to make our customers feel like family. America First’s members are also all family to each other, and they try to do the best they can to help one another get what they want out of life,” Jared says. “And hopefully that includes an RV,” he adds with a smile.