When Shenandoah Acres Family Campground in Stuarts Draft needs a portable building, they are likely to check with Byler. That's exactly what they did when the needed a souvenir stand, and the result was this 14x30 high wall cottage.
Garland Usler and his wife Carolyn purchased the campground in 2013. It had run for 70 consecutive years before investors made plans to turn it into a housing development. Those plans fell through about the time that the Uslers came on the scene looking for a way to turn their love – camping – into a job. Their original plan was to spend their retirement years traveling and camping, working at campgrounds in exchange for lodging. When the grandchildren started arriving, they decided to stay put instead, and they have taken Shenandoah Acres to over 300 campsites. They've also recently added a small, charming open chapel (not a Byler building), with refinished benches from an old church; they hope to add a steeple to it soon. An ordained minister is a seasonal camper and preaches a sermon in the chapel each Sunday. In Garland's words, "We’re blessed. Seems to me we can give thanks for 45 minutes one day out of seven."
Garland gave us a tour of the campground on his golf cart. He has a lot of seasonal campers and every weekend he talks to every one of them and greets them by name. The campground becomes its own neighborhood, and he loves the people. "Being surrounded by happy people seven months of the year is a pretty good gig," he says.
The souvenir shop isn't the campground's first purchase from Byler. Before this 14x30 high wall cottage was delivered, two 8x8 pump houses, a 14x36 arcade, and a playset were already part of Shenandoah Acres. Why Byler? Because of the work ethic, Garland says, something that's becoming more and more rare. He speaks highly of both Byler products and employees, calling sales and delivery people by name.
What does it take to be successful in running a campground like Shenandoah Acres? "There's no secret," Garland says. "Just treat people the way you want to be treated." We saw this in action as we neared the end of our tour of the campground. A camper stopped us and requested Garland's help: "I have some mice in my camper. Can you come help me set traps?” Poker-faced, Garland said, “I’m scared of mouses.” “I don’t know how to do it,” the camper responded. “I’ll be there in a few minutes,” Garland replied.