COLORADO SPRINGS — Small businesses in southern Colorado still feeling the impact of COVID-19 as they work to rebound and survive. But as some struggle to stay afloat, others growing and meeting an increased need.
Wayfarer Vans in Colorado Springs transforms cargo vans into camper van conversions. The simple and affordable vans can be created and installed within a few weeks of placing the order.
Owner and founder of Wayfarer Vans, Ian Horgan, says when the pandemic hit in March they were forced to close their doors for two months.
"We essentially lost all of our sales in March and April. That was really tough, it's like what are we going to do and what's going to happen," said Horgan. "We kept everyone on staff, everyone kept their paychecks, and we all took a pay cut."
As the pandemic continued, the company discovering a huge demand for its affordable and simplistic camper vans.
"We've sold the same amount of vans we did last year, and we're looking to grow ten to fifteen percent by the end of this year," said Horgan.
With more people working remotely and needing to get outdoors, they've seen more people going for the alternative travel option.
"Our Wayfarians cover a broad spectrum of lifestyles. A lot of them are newer retirees and Generation X," said Horgan. "Nurses will buy our vans and physical therapists. They get those remote nursing jobs and are able to travel around and they don't have to find a place to live."
Thanks to their manufacturing technique, they're able to make quick turnarounds.
"We have that dialed in from the beginning. From the lumber arriving in our yard, to it being assembled for the conversion. So when it's done, it's sitting right here and ready to be plugged in. That's why it only takes us four hours," said Austin Boehnlein," Chief Journey Architect for Wayfarers Vans.
Kirk Crowe bought a camper van conversion after shopping around for affordable and quick travel alternatives. With the pandemic, it's really come in handy.
"We have kids that live in Texas, and we are originally from Washington State. Usually, we would fly to go see them but now we make a trip out of it," said Crowe.
The van providing everything his family needs, including a toilet, portable solar shower, and heat.
"We don't have to stay in hotels, and it makes it really easy for you to stay isolated if you want to," said Crowe. "We don't have to go in anywhere, because we have all of our food here. The only thing we have to do is stop a gas station and gas up."
Giving him and other Coloradans more time to enjoy with their family on the road or slopes.
"With the lodges being closed, you still have a place to ski down to have lunch and then we're thirty feet from the chairlift so when the chairlift starts off, we're not driving from Colorado Springs or Denver to get to their mountains. We're the first ones in line to get in the chairlift," said Crowe.
Wayfarer Vans expects to continue growing as the pandemic continues and more people get more active outdoors. Anyone with questions or interested in getting a camper van conversion can reach out to the company on their website.