The challenge: Will campers really go for the gourmet coffee and fitness centers?
What they did: A lot of us dislike camping because ... well ... it's camping. Maybe RVC Outdoor Destinations can convince us otherwise. The Memphis company's niche is providing a cushier camping experience at its seven properties in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. RVC, founded in 2007, offers campers climate-controlled cottages, Wi-Fi, swimming pools, fitness centers, and hotel-like lobbies selling gourmet coffee. (Yes, you can still buy camping gear.) "We're trying to create a brand that offers the amenities you would expect from a high-quality, full-service hotel," says founder Andy Cates, 42. Sales at the company, which is profitable, says Cates, are expected to hit $3 million this year.
It's not easy getting parents to go with a new, and not yet trusted, babysitting service.