The same guy who drove Soulsville to success and helped steer the NBA to Memphis is now driven to shake up the RV park and campground industry with his fledgling enterprise, RVC Outdoor Destinations.
Andy Cates accelerates his white Tahoe west on Interstate 40 to the newest -- and nearest to Memphis -- of RVC's five upscale developments, Catherine's Landing in Hot Springs, Ark.
RVC Outdoor Destinations' Catherine's Landing park in Hot Springs includes restrooms, showers, a lodge with Wii, laundry room and wireless Internet.
Andy Cates discusses the next phase at Catherine's Landing, located on a part of an old dairy farm near Lake Catherine in Hot Springs, Ark.
Occasionally, the radar detector suctioned to the windshield goes "beep-beep," which is followed by a sharp braking, then by Cates telling passengers: "Sorry guys,'' then by the sight of a trooper parked in the median.
This is a man who's eager to show RV owners and outdoor enthusiasts how different Catherine's Landing is from typical RV parks and campgrounds.
So different, he refuses to label his as "RV parks," calling them "outdoor destinations'' instead.
So different, RVC claims to have invented a new category for the industry, one that offers consistently beautiful natural spaces, upscale amenities, and fine-tuned customer service.
So different, RVC clamors for the kind of "segmentation" in the RV park industry that hotels enjoy. Hotel travelers, for example, instantly know from seeing the signs for a Motel 6, Hampton Inn or Hilton what to expect from each in service, amenities and price.
RVC considers itself the Hilton of RV parks.
In addition to the KOA's, Jellystones and the independent campgrounds, RVC seeks to distinguish itself from the government parks, too.