Caravans have dominated one Palmerston couple’s lives for a decade.
Geoff and Amanda Snell own Caravan Connection, an East Otago business that imports caravans from the United Kingdom.
It was established in 2008 after the couple bought a caravan to live in while spending some time in the UK.
The couple, along with their two children, had travelled around the world, and when they were ready to return to New Zealand, they decided to take the caravan home instead of selling it.
“We just thought, well, they’re quite expensive in New Zealand,” Mrs Snell said.
Shipping the caravan to New Zealand was quite costly for the couple.
“It was like using every penny we had, just to get this one caravan back.”
After returning to New Zealand, the couple quickly sold the caravan, and with the proceeds, Mrs Snell imported two more caravans from the UK to be sold.
At that stage, the New Zealand caravan market had not really been tapped into, she said.
“Two became four and four became six.”
While she sold caravans, her husband worked at the Macraes gold mine.
Eventually, selling caravans became too big a job for one person, so Mr Snell left his job to help out with the business.
Several years ago, the couple bought premises in Palmerston – originally, the caravans had been stored at the camping ground in Waikouaiti.
Initially, the hardest part of starting up Caravan Connection was finding staff for the business, Mrs Snell said.
It was tricky because Palmerston was a small town.
The couple thought about selling the business a few years ago, she said.
“I suppose I was starting to get a bit worried that the market was going to become a bit swamped.”
Despite facing the risk of growing competition in the area, the couple trusted their gut instinct and decided to stick in for the long haul.
Looking back on what will soon be a decade since they started Caravan Connection, Mr and Mrs Snell are proud to see how far their business has come.