Ken Boggs is the pop you always hope you’ll meet when you walk into a “mom and pop” business. A former preacher married to a former teacher, Ken has a big heart, is quick to crack a joke and is plain-spoken. He’s especially affable when it comes to the bottom line of selling recreational vehicles and campers at Amazing RV’s at 8464 Gulf Freeway.

“A lot of people think RV dealers are like used car salesmen, and when I saw that other dealerships were like that, I literally said to my wife that we can beat them at their own game,” Boggs said recently with a laugh. “We treat people right.”

He said Amazing RVs now has more than 500 online reviews with combined rating of 4.8 stars (out of 5) because it has a transparent pricing structure and  a focus on doing the right thing, even if it costs the business money.

Boggs got his start in the industry working at one of the largest RV dealerships in town. He  said he did not like the fact that salesmen could not give customers a price without playing the old “let me talk to my manager” game.

Instead, he said, he and his wife, Cara, decided to open a dealership with clear vehicle prices.

“I give customers my best price up front because that number is real. It’s not going to change. You can see the price list. So, when we’re talking about a camper, I can tell you exactly what you’re going to pay down to the penny while you’re deciding,” Boggs said. “And if you think it’s too expensive, we just change campers, we don’t change the price.”

He said that customers are more savvy now, largely because of the information they find online. And with companies like CarMax also offering transparent pricing structures, Boggs said his way is what buyers want.

“I think the industry is ready for the change,” Boggs said. “And if I get big enough and take away enough market share, other dealerships are going to have to adjust to me. I can change the whole town.”

Boggs said his approach has saved him money because he does not need “curb appeal” to sell campers. In fact, prospective buyers often miss the driveway, which is partially hidden next to a Skechers Factory Outlet store.

“I tell people, when you see Skechers, turn in,” Boggs said with a laugh.

There’s also an entrance in the back of the 1-acre lot packed with new and used travel trailers, toy haulers and pop-up campers by ATC, Gulf Stream, Coachmen, Dutchmen, Riverside RV and Trail Manor.

Boggs said that while making things right for a customer is best for the business long-term it can sometimes cost him money in the short-term. For example, he said, an older couple from Central Texas bought an RV in their hometown to live in while going through chemotherapy at the Texas Medical Center. Once they got to Houston, they realized the RV was not a good fit for them. When they brought it to Boggs with their complaints, he took theirs in an even trade for one that better suited their needs.

“I didn’t make any money off of that, but it was the right thing to do,” he said.

“Family-owned companies are not only the backbone of our society and our business community, but they really do serve people really well,” he said. “They work hard to make sure their customers are happy, and I think that makes a difference.”

— By Brian Rogers