The embrace of recreational vehicles by younger consumers has spurred massive growth at Jacksonville-based Travelcamp, with the RV company opening new dealerships at a rapid pace.

Within the past three weeks, stores in Tennessee, North Carolina and Clermont debuted, and a 16th location is scheduled to open in Fort Pierce by fall of 2023.

In response to the growth, Travelcamp has hired former Dream Finder Homes executive John Blanton as chief operating officer, putting him in charge of ramping up staffing as the company grows.

Blanton spent almost a decade at the fast-growing homebuilder, serving as CFO and chief accounting officer as DFH went from $3 million in revenue to going public with $30 billion in revenue.

Travelcamp has been on its own path of growth, being one of the fastest-growing companies in the area for multiple years.

That growth is now spurred in part by millennials buying into RV life, with the average buyer now 30 to 35 years old, the company said.

Inflation across the economy — including gas prices — has encouraged more people to vacation differently, Blanton said, and families are indulging in adventures that don’t require flights and hotel costs.

“A common myth is that only older people buy recreation vehicles,” Blanton said. “When new customers view our financial arrangements, they realize RVs are actually quite affordable.”

The average cost of an RV is $45,000 to $50,000, Travelcamp Sales Director Lance Greiner said, with financing extended over 12 years or longer.

“You’re paying more interest,” he said, “but it’s tax-deductible, and a growing number of people are spending more time in their RVs.”

Travelcamp closed 2022 with an annual gross revenue of $200 million and 15 dealerships, including seven that opened last year.

“We grew really fast,” Travelcamp CEO Salem Hassan said. “A major objective for John’s talent throughout 2023 is to improve talent and process. With expansion comes a need for more labor, and we must carefully manage the staffing process.”

Hassan says the company has more than 300 employees and has yet to complete hiring for the three newest locations. Each dealership is run by roughly 20 to 30 employees, and an additional 35 workers are expected to be added to round off January’s employment.

Hassan founded Travelcamp in 2014 with the opening of the Jacksonville flagship store on Beach Boulevard. Two dealerships in Orange Park soon followed.

Travelcamp was recognized by RVBusiness Magazine as one of its 2022 Top 50 RV Dealers in North America and received the “Winnebago 2020 Top Sales Award” for towable units in the Southeast.

“We have high expectations of ourselves and our level of service, so this recognition from RVBusiness is confirmation that we are delivering on our promise to our customers,” Hassan said. “We are excited about what the future holds for us. And now, with John joining the leadership team, we have assembled exactly what we need to be successful in this next phase.”