From the Abbotsford, WI Tribune-Phonograph
RVing Outpost Caters to Camping Crowd
It was less than a year ago when Greg and Julie Miklaszewicz found themselves living in Milan without a lot of options.
The couple and their three children had moved here from the Racine area after Greg got a job in the sausage and meat industry. Unfortunately, health problems forced Greg out of his new job.
"We thought, What do we do now?'" Julie said. "We had just moved our family 250 miles and suddenly we had no income."
The answer was sitting in their driveway.
The Miklaszewicz' are avid campers and own a recreational vehicle, better known as an RV.
"I grew up RVing,'" Julie stated. "I've been to 48 states and never been in an airplane."
She and her husband noticed that, while there were a lot of campers in the area, there weren't any businesses that offered the gear and equipment RVs need. They found that even dealers specializing in campers only did sales and service for the campers themselves.
Then they looked at the area, with Abbotsford sitting at the crossroads of two major state highways.
"I think Highway 13 is the major traffic corridor for Wisconsin." Greg said.
That was the beginning and, on June 17, 2005, the RVing Outpost opened its doors for business. The store is located in the former site of the Abby Pharmacy in the East Town Mall.
"It was our dream to make a modern-day outpost, like the ones that travelers in the old days used to pick up supplies at," Greg said of the creative force behind the new business.
The store offers a large variety of RV parts, supplies and accessories, ranging from paper plate dispensers to hard-to-find fuses. They also stock fishing gear and live bait, decorations, pet supplies for taking your friend on the road with you, and specialty cookware for making dinner over the campfire.
To that end, the Outpost also features specialty food items, including gourmet popcorn, syrups, pastas and marshmallows, along with beef and ham sticks and other treats. Even more items are on order from suppliers.
The Miklaszewicz' spent two months remodeling and stocking the store, and it shows. Only the general layout of the Abby Pharmacy remains. The pharmacy area itself has been cleared out, and will be used as a seasonal display, complete with a mural designed by Abbotsford Elementary art teacher Deb Englebretson.
To help them get there, the couple got help from the Business Development Program offered by the Indianhead Community Action Agency.
"They helped us every step of the way with our business plan," Julie said.
The couple also received an economic development loan from the City of Abbotsford.
"We were very fortunate to obtain a loan with such a low interest rate," Julie added.
The Miklaszewicz' have big plans for the store. They hope to have an online store operating by next month (Note: RV Outpost
is now operational!), and also plan on advertising their store on a billboard along the highway.
A little further down the road, it's their goal to have a new location open along STH 29 for easier access to campers.
The family hopes their business will help people save time and money, so they'll have more of each to spend with their own families on a camping trip.
"With our store open, you don't need to travel all the way to Marshfield, Wausau or Eau Claire when you need something," Julie said.
The RVing Outpost is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.