About Ricky Merrigan
After going out on my own I owned several semi trucks & trailers and leased many more, along with drivers, from many different states.I primarily bought and sold millions of board feet of lumber of all species and sizes which I bought and sold at all points and places throughout the the US. My lumber customers were the contractors of large bridges, dams, missile sites, located throughout the US. Interspersed with lumber I dealt a lot in buying and selling grains all over the US. Another large portion of the business was hauling the construction equipment from the finished site to a new site. For example hauling cranes, etc. from Kansas to the St. Lawrence Sea Way in Canada.
Of course I bought and sold and hauled many things throughout my trucking career, fence posts, fruits, space heaters, steam cleaners, cement, etc. After about the first five years of dealing with all these things I quit driving and bought a plane. During the day I would deal with the jobs at hand then at night would fly to the next job to deal with more truckers and customers. My business dealings would be from coast to coast.
I was a partner in two gas stations strategically located that I used for servicing the trucks under my control. I was begged to provide lumber and product to the new space station, Cape Canaveral" but by this time I was burned out.
I was the cause of a union going on strike and I was the cause of breaking up another strike. I maintained an office in Vermillion, South Dakota and shared a secretary with the states attorney. (Yes, it was handy) however I rarely had time to be there. Which brings me to the primary reason for my changing occupations. I needed a quiet, peaceful job, one in which I could stay home and work. I found the perfect job that after 45 years I still love doing, and that is messing with RV's.
I came to Tucson, (the only place I did not work on the Titan missiles) to visit my parents who had moved here from South Dakota for mothers health. While looking around Tucson I ran across some guy that was building a camper. I did not know what a camper was, but I bought him out and started this business in February 1967. This was in small garage on Grant Road.
After about two months my brother, Jerry, moved down from St. Paul, MN. and became my partner. At night we would go look at competitors campers to see how they were built then we would go build one. In quick time we learned how to build all types of RV's. I would draw up plans (just using scrap papers laying around) for building shell campers, full size and loaded pickup campers, chassis mount campers, motor homes, van conversions, trailers. Then Jerry and I would work up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our business was good and we built a better product than most. We had such a large parts & accessories inventory (stored at my home, etc.) that we decided to start an east side retail store. This went very well until Jim Click bought the whole block so we sold the store and business to someone that moved it to another site. We then bought the place I am now located.
We were asked by some insurance people if we would look into building a much needed repair site near Kingman, Az. Jerry drove up there to see what he thought of the deal. He was not too excited about the area. I drove up next and felt the same way. However, I decided to drive home so that I could see the London Bridge. While driving through the area between Bullhead City, Az. And Needles, CA. I found the perfect spot. I supervised the building of the building on one acre of the four acres then operated the business for a year then Jerry and I split the business, he took Bullhead City and I kept Tucson property. Jerry has long ago sold his property and is no longer an RV place.
I have three contractors licenses. One for building residential homes, one for building commercial buildings, and one for repairs of mobile homes and manufactured homes. I've put two licenses on sabbatical. At one time I needed a #1 license to build two commercial trailers for a mining company, In order to obtain the license and approval I drove to Phoenix to the Arizona Contractors License Bureau with my plans and pertinent information in hand. They tried to force me to leave everything with them and they would get back to me. I wouldn't let them put me off and demanded to get things done now. So I met with the head engineer that had to approve the plans etc., which he did while I waited in his office. Thereafter they sent notice to everyone that there would not be any plans or licenses approved on the same day as applied for. I guess they don't operate like the business people that support them. It is their law that we, their customers, must be tormented and delayed as much as possible.
When I first moved to Arizona I tried to obtain a drivers license but they required my Social Security number. I refused to give it to them and they refused to give me a license. I said that's OK, but I will be driving without a license. They had me wait in their bosses office and they called Phoenix and Phoenix gave in. They changed the rule and from that time on your Social Security number is not mandatory.
I built a house designed by a famous draftsman/engineer, when completed it was picked up by newspapers all over the country. I built slide outs before they became popular. I designed many RV's to be used for many different things, piano's, computers, exercise/gym trailers, etc.
I have had several news articles written about innovations I have built. Insurance Companies have requested many seminars at our shop and we used to give seminars at RV parks. Throughout the country I have visited a great many manufactures of the products that we use and sell.
For many years we have had a very large inventory of parts and supplies in our store. We repair just about any problem with RV's and all appliances. We have a crew that repairs Mobile Homes.
At one time I rarely got home. Now I am home all the time and very close to my work. We have three families living on our business property. Betty, my wife, and I live in one home. My daughter, who works for the company, lives in her home with her husband and a daughter, 12, and a son, 8.. Betty's daughter lives in her home with her husband and two daughters 3, & 12, and a son, 7.
Every school day the kids come to our home and eat breakfast and we take them out to catch the school bus then after school they come to our house to get snacks, etc. Betty and I enjoy attending all their activities. They all enjoy participating in the business when they have time. They all take dancing & singing lessons and perform all over town
I would not trade places with anyone I have the best there is in children, and especially grandchildren. The best business to be in which wouldn't be as great if it weren't for the great employees and the great customers.
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