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November 18, 2012

RV General Store is enjoying more than three decades in business

NORMAN — RV General Store owner Barry Bender says a person’s RV is his or her castle.

He’s been in the business for three decades now.

“I was going to college at OU in the late 70’s and started working at a local RV place part time,” Bender said. “The oil business was drying up so I stayed in the RV business.”

Bender moved from his original job and began working for RV General Store. Eventually he went to work for an RV manufacturer and followed that by working for a large RV dealer in Tulsa.

One day he was contacted by the owner of RV General Store, 1707 Topeka St. in Norman. The owner was retiring and thought Bender might be interested in buying the business. He was. Bender bought the RV General Store in 1989.

“We put in a second location in October 2010,” Bender said.

That location in south Oklahoma City west of Moore is located on the Interstate 44 service road west of Portland Avenue.

The original RV General Store in Norman has been the same location and the same name since 1982.

“We have the home town general store kind of business — very laid back, very personal,” Bender said. “We’re not a big business type of store. Our motto is, ‘We make going fun.’”

He said shopping for an RV should be as much fun as traveling and vacationing in one.

“Our customers are getting younger,” Bender said. “Used to, our customers were approaching retirement, but with hotel and airline prices so expensive that’s changing.”

He said the price range starts at very affordable to the most luxurious RVs but even luxury is less expensive than many hotel rooms these days.

“It’s very affordable to own one and travel,” he said. “Once you own one you can go to Lake Thunderbird or you can go to the mountains. For a lot of retirees it’s an inexpensive way to travel.”

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