Bentley RV rolls onto former car lot

Business is leasing part of longtime Chevrolet site

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

Vehicle sales are in play once again at the former Curt Warner Chevrolet dealership site in Vancouver.

Bentley RV has leased 4 acres of the 16-acre property, which is off Interstate 205 at the exit to Mill Plain Boulevard. The RV dealership sells previously owned recreational vehicles -- motor homes, trailers and fifth wheels. It is owned by Jim Bentley, who recently moved the business from an Orchards-area site off Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and 125th Avenue.

“This location is better for the RVs,” Bentley said, adding that he chose the site for its pavement and lighting.

About 18 months have gone by since former Seattle Seahawks star running back Curt Warner sold his Chevrolet franchise to Alan Webb, who moved the General Motors vehicles and service shop to his site off state Highway 500 and Andresen Road.

Bentley said he likes his new dealership’s proximity to Interstate 205 traffic and hopes another dealer eventually moves in to take up the rest of the site.

The remaining 12 acres of the former dealership is owned by Detroit-based General Motors, Chevrolet’s parent company, said Don Ossey a

broker with Capacity Commercial Group in Portland.

He said GM intends to sell the site, zoned for commercial use. The company has not yet settled on an asking price.

Bentley RV previously operated at an Orchards location owned by Clark County’s Wade family, which formerly operated Wade’s Auto Wrecking and Specialty Vehicles at the site.

Jim Bentley said used RV sales are faring better than sales of new RV models, which suffered their worst years on record from 2008 through 2009.

He said buyers today are more likely to favor pre-owned models, which have dropped in value by 30 to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, brand-new RV sales are slowly beginning to recover. A full rebound will depend on consumer confidence and whether credit limits increase this year, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., a Michigan-based provider of market intelligence to the RV industry.

Bentley expects his sales to increase by 30 percent this year. His dealership has an inventory of about 60 RVs and also offers RV servicing and parts.