LORAIN, Ohio (WOIO) - A Lorain RV rental agency is among those reporting a surge in customers sparked by travel-related restrictions being lifted.
Like most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns left many business owners worried.
“I thought, how is our small family business going to survive this,” said Angela Dudziak, the general manager and part-owner of Neff Brothers RV
She told 19 News in the last two weeks, they have booked about 50 rentals. Normally, they would consider ten rentals in one week to be a “good week.”
“It’s been a good out of bad situation for us,” Dudziak said, referring to the pandemic.
She attributed the spike to the easing of some restrictions, like campgrounds reopening. She said many of their customers are first-time renters, looking for safe alternatives to taking a vacation or visiting family.
With social distancing still encouraged, Dudziak suggests RV’s are the perfect alternative to flying and dealing with crowds at airports and on planes.
“The whole family can get in and travel somewhere and you don’t have to stop anywhere,” she said “And money wise, if you’re going to fly your whole family somewhere, it’s about equivalent.”
Among the first-time customers picking up their rental on Friday were Robert and JoAnn Madison of Elyria.
They’re gearing up for a weekend excursion with two of their grandsons, planning a trip to see northern Ohio’s castles.
"We really want to do something different, JoAnn said. “We want to be able to get away, get away safely and to not have to use public facilities.”
“Getting out on the road like this is great,” Robert added. “It’s something different.”
More Americans are expected to travel by road this year, according to AAA.
Likely good news for the RV industry.
“Right now, I’m going to ride the wave. I’m happy,” Dudziak said, adding that the boom could also help boost the economy within local communities.
She said many customers are seeking advice on where to travel to.
“They’re [asking], ‘Where can I go?’ Stay local. Keep the money local," she said she tells them. "Let’s get our economy back up in northeast Ohio. This is a good way to do it.”