When Derek Weber customized his first camper van in his garage in 2009, he didn’t anticipate his neighbors begging him to build one for them. “I wanted to spend my time camping, not building more vans”, Derek jokes. But he recognized the opportunity, put some photos on the internet, and customer interest exploded.
Today, Colorado Camper Van (CCV) does over $4 million in annual sales and employs over 40 people at its Loveland plant. CCV’s main offerings are installing “pop-top” higher ceilings, and a huge range of custom, high quality, interior designs. CCV performs this work on a wide variety of vans. See: www.coloradocampervan.com
In 2019, CCV was experiencing some tough growth pains, and Derek reached out to the Loveland Business Development Center and the SBDC.
SBDC financial consultant Bob Coffey dug deeply into the numbers at CCV. Derek says “he helped us get our books straightened out, and fixed a past tax situation that led to refunds for us. He helped with job costing and appropriate pricing. His work was integral to helping us get a much-needed loan”.
Manufacturing consultant Jon Jaggers helped CCV convert to a lean manufacturing operation. “He gave us direction on manufacturing. He helped improve our flow through optimal placement of workstations, tools, and components. He got our processes down to where the company was making money”, says Derek.
By 2020, many of these financial and manufacturing improvements were in place at CCV. The COVID pandemic provided an unexpected sales boost. Derek commented “our sales doubled from 2019 to 2021”.
Recent accomplishments for Derek include becoming a part-owner of the CCV building, which stabilized CCV’s operating base in Loveland. Derek and his purchasing manager Elizabeth (also his business partner and wife) worked hard on purchasing components in bulk from manufacturers, which lowered costs and improved availability. Derek feels fortunate that he’s been able to find and retain employees – “we work 10 hour shifts four days a week, with three days off, and our team really likes that schedule”.
Future plans include broadening conversions to Jeeps and Ford Broncos, a pop-top trailer offering, and a possible van resale service. “I’m excited about where CCV is going”, Derek says with a smile.
Derek, Elizabeth, and their two children live in Drake, and enjoy camping!