Ever wonder how Kamp-Rite came to be? Let’s just say this big dream came to life with hard-work, perseverance and the very first Kamp-Rite product, the “Tent Cot.” After that came endless innovation brought to you by a family full of passion for elevating everyone’s experience in the great outdoors. Below is part of that story in the words of our founder, Bill Ferrari.
Where did the original idea for Kamp-Rite come from?
In 1998, we were presented with a rough design for an off-the-ground tent/cot combination. The design was incomplete and needed further development and was left to us to develop. There, began our journey.
What inspired you to start an outdoor gear company?
[Kamp-Rite Vice President] Andrea [Visger]’s three sons grew up as avid outdoorsmen who spent much time fishing, camping and hunting. This innovative product resonated strongly with us and was seen as something that would have been ideal for the many weekend outings spent in outdoor pursuits. It wasn’t difficult to envision numerous uses and opportunities for such an exciting and unique item.
Tell us about the company. What is it like to run a family business?
It was originally just the two of us, (Andrea and I), when we first started the business and we started with just one product, the “Original Tent Cot.” Due to the fact that there was no other item on the market similar to the Tent Cot, we started exhibiting in trade shows all across the country in order to introduce this innovative product to the general public.
Over the next few years, we added two more designs and sizes of Tent Cots and our sales continued to increase. We also began expanding our market to areas outside of camping activities, such as Disaster Relief and Government sales. This expansion in growth required additional support to manage sales and manufacturing activities.
My step-son, Jeff Visger, came on board in 2005 and rapidly became involved in sales expansion as well as working with our manufacturers on new product designs. As CEO, Jeff continues to play a crucial role in Kamp-Rite’s growth and success.
In 2007, Andrea’s nephew, Drew Christensen, became our Operations Manager, overseeing all warehouse activities and warehouse employees, and works closely with our factories to provide valuable input on product research and design. The year 2015 brought the next family member to the Kamp-Rite team, eldest son, Aaron Visger. He took on the role of CMO to implement a far-reaching program to expand public awareness via an enhanced social media platform.
In addition to launching a variety of marketing campaigns, Aaron has also invented and developed two new and exciting products for Kamp-Rite, with more items on the way. Having the opportunity to build our business with family by our side is an incredible experience. We are all equally protective and committed to looking out for the business. Having people you know you can rely upon and trust unconditionally is a huge benefit.
How long have you been in the world of business and what is the biggest lesson you have learned in that time?
I have been in business for a total of 50 years, with Kamp-Rite being my primary business for the past 18 years. Any business will bring challenging times. I have learned the importance of staying positive and persistent.
How long did it take you to bring the Original Tent-Cot to market?
It took approximately 3 years to bring the Tent-Cot to market.
Where do you see the direction of Kamp-Rite products going in the future?
The options are endless! We continue to build on the concept of tweaking standard equipment to be more user-friendly, more comfortable and more adaptable for a variety of uses.
What is your favorite place to “Go Explore” and why?
Due to many wonderful memories growing up, we love anything related to the beach!