Something was learned with the Great Recession of ’08. It has affected us all and we may not have fully realized it.
We used to be materialistic. Once upon a time we strived to achieve the American Dream. We used to try to keep up with the Joneses.
We measured our success with stuff. The 20th century was a time of spending and owning. And then — crash! We just couldn’t afford to spend any more. Foreclosures were at an all-time high, jobs were scarce, the stock market plummeted and lending was hard to come by.
Today we have learned to share. New terms include “sharing economy” or “collaborative consumerism.”
Remember Napster? Maybe not the best example, as that music-sharing service crashed nearly as hard as the economy, but why go out and buy a CD when you can jump on the internet and access other people’s music libraries from around the world for free? Today we have well-known companies like Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, VRBO, RVShare, and Neighborgoods.
Locally, Redline Recreational Equipment joins that list. Located in Hayden, Redline specializes in getting people out to enjoy all the splendors of the region on toys like ATVs and UTVs, jet skis, snowmobiles, boats and motorhomes. They do this by sharing their toys with you. You become a Redline “member” and purchase points, much like a timeshare. Only you aren’t encumbered longterm.
Melanie and Laird Adams have spent the better part of the past year preparing to launch Redline’s Hayden location, which opened its doors in early July.
“We learned about the store in Boise, so we thought, ‘What a great idea; we should have one here,’ so we talked to them about franchising,” said Melanie.
The Spokane Valley couple moved here about five years ago from Bend, Ore., when Laird had a job transfer. Melanie had been a stay-at-home mom. Both have always been outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
“We love the outdoors and we’ve had lots of toys,” Melanie said. “We wanted more toys. We ran into money issues, and storage issues, and time issues — not feeling like you’re using them all in order to justify owning them, so that’s why we liked this, because you can have everything and play with everything without having to commit to owning anything.”
The Adamses have opened the first franchise here, and plan to open locations around North Idaho and Washington. Other franchisees are working to open in areas like Seattle, Alaska, Utah and Nevada.
“There are quite a few areas looking to start up around the country, and the advantages there for our members are they can go anywhere there is a Redline and use their toys,” said Laird.
He explains how it will be seamless, with no extra costs or hoops to jump through. You just use the points you have in your bank. Reservations can be easily made online up to a year in advance.
As the business grows, members will also have a wider variety and selection of toys available and can expect to get exactly what they want.
“If there’s interest in a fishing boat, we will bring one in,” said Laird. “The nice thing about it is we tailor it to the members’ needs. That’s the whole business model — is tailoring it to the members and making it convenient for them to go play and make memories and have fun without the storage, the winterizing, the maintenance, the cleaning, the licensing, the insurance... all the hassles that go with it.”
Membership is simple, Melanie explained:
“You just purchase points. There’s no membership or joining fee or anything like that. You’re just purchasing points, and the price per point varies depending on how long a contract you sign and the amount of points you are purchasing at the time. So, the longer the contract and the more points, the cheaper it is.”
Each toy has a point value, and point values differ based on whole day or partial day rentals. Points not used in a year roll over to the next, and additional points can be purchased as needed at the same initial point price.
Members are not sent out without knowing how to use and operate the equipment. They get lessons as needed. Boats can be launched and loaded at the customer’s request, and those without towing vehicles can pay a nominal delivery fee to have toys hauled to where they want to play. Melanie said the frustration that can come with learning something new detracts from a good time — and takes up time — so in order to assure members have fun, they make sure everyone is comfortable and knowledgeable before heading out.
“Our whole goal is just to hopefully have the customers have fun,” said Laird. “It’s a timeshare without being locked in for the rest of your life and without having to pay a huge initiation fee or huge annual fees. We don’t have any of that. You’re basically just purchasing the rental points. That’s all.”
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Holly Paszczynska can be reached at email@example.com.