When Irene Sturzenegger saw the building, she knew it was the one. The 15,000 square foot building had extra-high ceilings, built-in wash bays, a security fence, and was large enough to house four sprawling departments under one roof. Unfortunately, the building was not in North Vancouver, where Go West had been doing business for almost 26 years. The building was in the growing city of Coquitlam, near the Port Mann Bridge in Greater Vancouver.
?It?s not easy to move after being in one place for so long,? said Sturzenegger, ?but we had to have more room.?
?RVing is the number one tourism trend in North America,? says city of Coquitlam tourism project manager Barb Stegemann. ?The spinoffs for our tourism sector are astounding. Our local Coquitlam hotels will enjoy an extra 1,000 nights each year! In addition, the guests load up their campers before their journey which means lots of retail purchases in our community. So we?re thrilled to have Go West move here.?
Any other municipality would have been pleased to have Go West too. Economic development manager Al Ordge wanted to make sure Go West chose Coquitlam. ?It?s no secret that there exists a healthy competition amongst the municipalities to attract businesses to their jurisdictions,? says Ordge. ?We provided Go West with central location, facilities, a good attitude and the assistance provided by the corporation?s various departments, such as planning, licencing Economic Development and Tourism.?
Sales consultant Martin Blum said Go West needed more space. ?When you have close to 200 large RVs, you need lots of space. Now we can look at bringing in 5 th wheels as well.? Go West provides selection with top quality Regal motorhomes by Triple E, Excella by Corsair,?and van conversions by Great West and Roadtrek, as well as Chalet hard-sided folding trailers.
Blum is especially proud of the Regal motorhomes, which are built exclusively for Go West. ?The Regal is built to our specifications by Triple E, a leader in the RV industry. It has many extra features including a tubular aluminum structure which is stronger and lighter than wood, and much more resistant to rot and corrosion.?
How do you move almost 200 vehicles? ?One at a time,? says Sturzenegger. ?We moved a few vehicles each day, so we did not have to close at all. We didn?t want to be closed in case our customers needed something.?
The new building also contains a larger reception area and more office space. The expanded parts department is managed by Jerome Reinarz. ?Now, when our do-it-yourself customers come in with an old part, I can find the new one much faster,? he jokes.
?We take pride in providing the guest with the best product and service in the industry, and are happy to say that we have received nothing but praise from customers from around the world,? says Irene Sturzenegger. Rentals are handled by Jutta Wegener, who ensures meticulous care of every rental RV.
Each department is focused on what customers want, and that focus is the biggest reason Go West RV Centre has been successful for 26 years. The company has received many national and provincial tourism awards and also a ?best business? award for North Shore businesses in 2002.
The story behind Go West begins back in the 1960?s when Irene and Victor Sturzenegger immigrated to Canada from Switzerland. They landed in Montreal but their goal was to ?go west? and they landed in Vancouver. Go West entered the RV rental industry in 1980.? The past 26 years has seen Go West expand from a fleet of 13 vehicles to more than 300, with rental stations in Coquitlam and Calgary and an affiliation with a Toronto-based company.
Now Irene?s son Kelly Sturzenegger is helping with the business, which allows Irene to take more time to continue to promote a healthy tourism industry for all regional businesses. For many years, she served on the board of the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains tourism organization and is currently chair of that association.
?Travelers have many choices, and we need to make sure they know about this beautiful part of the world,? says Sturzenegger.
She invites all friends and customers to visit the new location for Go West RV Centre at 32 Fawcett Road in Coquitlam, one block east of the Boulevard Casino on United Boulevard. Go West?s phone number has changed to 604-528-3900.