Doug's Recreation tries to save season after damaging flood
Owner Sarah Toole says 92 RVs covered by water in April can only be salvaged for parts
Doug's Recreation in Sussex Corner is operating out of a travel trailer on the lot, after extreme flooding this month damaged the RV dealer's office, along with 92 new and used units.
All of the waterlogged RVs had to be written off, said owner Sarah Toole.
"The insurance adjusters and claims adjusters have been in and taken pictures of everything, and most [RVs] had water over the windows so everything was covered in real muck," said Toole.
"The floors, all the furniture is soaking wet and ruined — there was water in the ovens and the fridges. As far as I know they're going to register them as parts only and they're looking for a salvage buyer that's going to buy all the units."
No damaged RVs will be retrofitted to be put back on the road, she said.
Anytime it rains hard it crosses my mind.- Sarah Toole, owner, Doug's Recreation
"We don't want to give the impression that we're fixing and selling these flooding units and try to sell them or pass them off as ones that weren't flooded," Toole said.
"That's the worst reputation any RV dealership can get — even worse than having a bad service department.
"Anything that has to do with water damage, and risk of mould or mildew, that's a bad reputation to have."
Toole estimates damage to be in the millions. Replacement units began arriving last week, she said.
Staff had managed to move 30 units out of the way before the river rose up on April 16. Of the 92 RVs damaged, two had already been sold. But Toole says they were still registered in her name.
"Most people buying trailers this time of year stick a deposit on it to ensure it's theirs, and then pay when they pick up," she said. "So we gave buyers their deposits back and hopefully they'll keep checking with us as we get new inventory in and we can still make a sale."
Toole says the flood couldn't have happened at a worse time for Doug's Recreation.
"An RV season, as far as sales go, is a short season," she said. "April and May are big months for RV dealers. It's when we have the most inventory sitting on the lots."
RVs in the company's upper lot survived the flood, and staff are now considering building up their showroom and lots so it doesn't happen again.
"Anytime it rains hard it crosses my mind," said Toole.