South Carolina Voyager
South Carolina Voyager
June 8th, 202
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ali and Eric Rasmussen. They and their team shared their story with us below:
Spacious Skies Peach Haven, located in Gaffney, SC, is one campground in Spacious Skies Campgrounds’ collection of 15 located in the Eastern United States. Ali and Eric Rasmussen, husband-and-wife co-founders of SSC, always dreamed of embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure together. During the pandemic, they spontaneously purchased their first RV so they could travel with their three young children and spend quality time together outside the confines of their home. They had always loved camping but had previously focused on tent camping – that would not work with three little ones. On their first voyage in their RV, they ambitiously chose to change campgrounds each night of their two-week trip. Doing so allowed them to see various campgrounds – state and national parks, mom-and-pop runs, franchises, new, old, big, and small. They realized they would love to combine all the great elements of each campground type into one experience for their family and others to enjoy. Given Eric’s background in real estate and development and Ali’s experience with operations and marketing, they decided this was their chance to build something together. They founded SSC in March 2021 and purchased their first campground in Maine – Spacious Skies Walnut Grove – in May 2021. Two years later, the collection includes 15 campgrounds, all operated by SSC, spanning Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
We all face challenges, but would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
This has been a grand adventure and a true lesson in grit and perseverance. Right out of the gate, the first campground brought a huge challenge to overcome. The original plan had been to hire a third-party property management company to run each campground on-site. On closing day, the company had yet to send a satisfactory staff to run the campground. Ali was left alone to get a crash course on operating a campground, while Eric found himself home with their young kids, not knowing when Ali could leave her new post! Ali recalls that even in that unexpected chaos, she did not regret their choice or path once. She knew this was their future and the industry she belonged in, and she picked up many valuable lessons from that first leap into operating a campground.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next, you can tell us more about your business.
We work hard to ensure each of our unique campgrounds has a common thread connecting it to the entire collection. That includes common amenities, an expectation of great customer service (or, as we call it, “Camper Care”), and a commitment to improve or maintain the facilities and infrastructure at each location we take on so that our campers have a comfortable, pleasant experience. We have kicked off a fun Themed Weekend schedule this season, with all of our campgrounds embracing the same theme by offering fun activities, games, crafts, and other entertainment for their guests. We also just launched a loyalty program, coining our members “Cosmic Campers”, and offering them a 12% discount on all their stays.
Overall, our brand is fresh and fun, full of color, and “the Spacious Skies sparkle” has been embraced by our campers. Each location has a unique icon that speaks to its location. We have used those icons to make cool collectibles like pins, stickers, and mugs, so our campers can bring a little memento with them from each Spacious Skies spot. Our regional concentration in the Eastern US allows a committed RV-er to have an epic road trip, starting in Tennessee and stopping at each campground on their way up to Maine (or the reverse!)
Finally, we are making some incredible connections and partnerships as we grow. Recently, we were the first private campground company to partner with Black Folks Camp Too, an organization committed to increasing unity in the outdoor community. Our campgrounds are all Unity Blaze certified, meaning our teams have all completed BFCT training and embrace the mottos of “treat everyone, everywhere, equally.” and “you are invited and welcomed.”
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
This has been an incredible two years full of growth. We have learned that growth can sometimes be challenging, exhausting, or even painful, but the pride and fulfillment of pushing yourself to reach goals and make a vision you believe in a reality is worth every bit of it.
- Website: spaciousskiescampgrounds.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spaciousskiescampgrounds/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spaciousskiescampgrounds