You know about the Teardrop, the Cirrus, and the Avia as well as the Barefoot Travel Trailer, scheduled to make its appearance late 2020. But what do you know about the company and its founder who has brought you all these RV models as well as the annual üCamp event?
Probably not much, and since we think the nüCamp story makes for some interesting reading, we thought we’d share a little about how it came to be and what led Joe Mullet, nüCamp founder and president, to embark on his entrepreneurial journey!
From Plumbing to Lawn Furniture to Campers
Joe started out as a plumber, but after years in the plumbing business, he decided it was time to make a change. First, he began building lawn furniture, but that didn’t satisfy his desire to bring something new and unique to the area. When a friend gave him the opportunity to build a teardrop trailer, Joe was bitten by the teardrop bug and in 2004, at age 44, he went full-time into the trailer manufacturing business.
By 2005, Joe officially formed Pleasant Valley Teardrop Trailers (the company’s original name) and started operations with an eight-man workforce in a 3,000-square-foot shop in Sugarcreek, Ohio. But he didn’t want to make cookie-cutter trailers. Instead, Joe was determined to produce high-quality trailers to fill a void in the RV marketplace. And camper customers appreciated it—with the result that, by the end of 2006, the company not only tripled its production from 50 to 150 but also expanded operations into a second business. The future looked full of promise.
Then came 2008.
The Recession Readjustment
When the recession hit in 2008, dozens of RV manufacturers were forced to close their doors and Joe was no exception. When the sales of teardrop campers dropped precipitously, and with little income and an increasing number of debts to pay, Joe made the difficult decision in September to shut down the business.
However, the closure didn’t last long. Shortly after that sad day, Joe received a serendipitous call from Little Guy Worldwide, the former distributor of teardrop campers produced by Pleasant Valley, and the relationship was re-established.
Joe was back in business again and by 2010, he had moved the business into a 4,000 square-foot facility that was once an apple storage facility. Despite the less than optimal working conditions (cold in the winter and hot in the summer), Joe and his crew worked hard, producing 457 trailers by the end of 2010.
A New Location and New Product
The company continued to grow, with Joe making several major business changes, acquiring all rights to the TAB trailer from Dutchmen Manufacturing, and moving into a larger 12,000-square-foot facility. Just as importantly, the company was debt-free and on solid financial footing. By the end of 2011, production totaled 700 trailers, and in 2016, the trailer “family” grew to include the TAG and Cirrus Truck Camper.
More trailers meant more room was needed, so Joe relocated operations to a brand-new 150,000 square-foot facility. He also renamed the business, changing it from Pleasant Valley Teardrop Trailers to nüCamp to reflect an expanded product line that included more than just teardrops. Next came the new Cirrus 720 Truck Camper and the AVIA Travel Trailer.
Where could Joe go from there? Across the pond, so to speak, entering into a partnership with Barefoot Caravans of Great Britain in 2018, with plans to start production of a one-of-a-kind, beautifully unique, all fiberglass camper.
Now in its fifteenth year, nüCamp continues its expansion under the guidance of Joe and Scott Hubble, nüCamp’s CEO. In the past ten years alone, the company has produced in excess of 20,000 units and shipped products to five different continents. But Joe and his team have never lost sight of the company’s commitment of producing high-quality products that exceed customers’ expectations.
Equally important to all the nüCamp staff is maintaining a strong relationship with its customers, both on social media and in-person through the annual üCamp five-day event, held at Winklepleck Grove Campground in Sugarcreek not too far from the plant’s location. The 2019 event was the third üCamp, with more than 350 people from 33 states plus Nova Scotia and Ontario in attendance.
And here on the nüCamp blog, we feature interviews with members of our #nuCampFamily who tour the continent and share their experiences. From single parents to solo travelers, young couples and retirees, campground enthusiasts to dedicated boondockers, the #nuCampFamily covers all ages and demographics who share a common interest: to explore what our country offers one mile at a time!
If you’d like to share your camping story, click on Share Your Adventure and tell us where you’ve been and where you’re going next!