RVers traversing across the country have learned that certain businesses can be more RV friendly than others. To recognize these companies, and to share that information with fellow members, we ask Good Sam members to vote for their favorite RV friendly businesses in a number of categories. We can then recognize and thank those organizations through our annual Welcome Mat awards.
Over the years, we find that the majority of our Welcome Mat winners remain the same, proving that these companies truly understand the needs of RV owners and appreciate our business.
Take favorite sit-down restaurant, for example. It’s no secret that RVers love Cracker Barrel, and they’ve won the award in this category every year – seven times.
Cracker Barrel started in a spot many of us haven’t visited – Lebanon, Tennessee. Back in the late 1960s, a young man named Dan Evins began thinking of ways to better meet the needs of folks on the road. The interstate system was still young. Goods and services were sparse and often not to be trusted. What’s more, with the rise of fast food, the little places that served up some of America’s real flavor were getting pushed out. Dan always saw mealtime as something special – a time to catch up with your family, your friends, or your thoughts. Meals weren’t meant to be swallowed down in three bites with a squirt of ketchup.
By 1977, there were 13 stores, from Tennessee to Georgia. Today, there are 594 stores, all run by the same man with the vision, Dan Evins.
Although the company has successfully adjusted to the size of its business, the important things have remained the same. The original mission, of “pleasing people” generates mutual respect, and the mashed potatoes and the biscuits are still made from scratch, and served with real butter.
Our members’ favorite NASCAR venue? Why, Daytona, of course! Good Sam members love NASCAR, and they recognize that the Daytona International Speedway is the most RV friendly track around. It was also the site of our 2006 RV Rally.
Favorite dinghy vehicle? Saturn! It’s hard to believe that the first Saturn prototype was not completed for evaluation until September of 1984, for it just seems as if these cars have always been a part of our lives. Saturn was created with one simple idea: to put people first. With the mission to start a different kind of car company – one dedicated to finding new ways for people to work together to design, build and sell cars – Saturn has earned a reputation for superior customer satisfaction.
Saturn’s association with its owners is stronger than simply an agreement to deliver and maintain unique and imaginative vehicles. It’s a relationship which warrants trust, respect and a commitment to the things that matter most in their lives. At Saturn, all of their activities and relationships are not secondary to creating unique and imaginative vehicles. In fact, they’re the reason they even make them at all.
Other Welcome Mat winners this year include Flying J, which won in two categories – favorite fuel/gas Station and favorite propane outlet. Our members’ favorite ice cream parlor is once again Dairy Queen, and favorite sandwich shop is Subway, another multi-year winner. Best outlet mall is Tangers, and of course, members’ favorite shopping center is non other than Wal-Mart. Their favorite tourist attraction/amusement park is Disney World, golf course is Pebble Beach, and casino is the Hard Rock.
Good Sam members overwhelmingly chose Shell’s Rotella as their favorite motor oil, the Tampa Supershow as their favorite RV Show, and Camping World as their favorite RV accessory store. America’s Best Campground in Branson, Missouri, was selected as their favorite Good Sampark, out of a list of nearly 1700 campgrounds. For pet supplies, PetSmart was selected as the most RV friendly, and Michael’s was the favorite craft store.
Another multi-year winner, Ford, was chosen as favorite tow vehicle.
Members made several travel selections, designating Florida as both their favorite state to visit and their favorite state to fish, and British Columbia as their favorite Canadian province.
Winners will be recognized at our upcoming Rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 17th. For the latest news on our Welcome Mat winners, please go to the Good Sam Club website, www.goodsamclub.com
To all of these RV friendly businesses, we at Good Sam say congratulations and thank you.