Hill Country RV settles into new location
By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer
The past year has been more hectic than usual for Wayne and Faye Older, owners of Hill Country RV & Mobile Home Supply of Bandera. They've moved to a new location and have been busy getting organized in their new setting.
Hill Country RV had spent six years at their former location near the intersection of State Highway 16 and King's Ranch Road. Finding a place that they could own instead of renting proved to be a challenge. "We got lucky with the timing of this property," said Wayne. "We had looked at a much smaller piece next door and found out this property was ready to make a deal."
The RV service business is now located on over 20 acres on the hill overlooking Privilege Creek at 5237 Highway 16 South. The phone number is 830-796-9947.
The Olders have been busy ever since the purchase clearing brush, putting down caliche roads and RV pads, erecting a steel building and remodeling the old farmstead house that once belonged to Lester Heinen.
A recent history feature in The Courier quoted an article from the Jan. 18, 1934 issue of the Bandera New Era newspaper that told about moving the house from the banks of Privilege Creek "to a site up on the hill near the highway. The house was moved last Saturday by putting it up on wheels and hitching a tractor to it."
The new business site has three times the space in the showroom and garage workshop as the former location. "The workshop is drive through, and it's designed to expand. We can remove the back wall and put in another bay when we need to," said Wayne.
In addition to RV and mobile home repairs, Hill Country RV's shop carries a large inventory of all the parts and supplies needed to keep your home away from home operating smoothly.
Older is a certified RV tech and enjoys the work. "No two days are the same," he said. "I get a lot of satisfaction in solving problems for my customers and I believe in doing it right the first time!"
Older also treasures the wisdom he has gotten from one of the Hill Country's best known RV repairmen, Winston Skeen. "I rely on him all the time."
Hill Country RV is a warranty station for most of the well-known brands related to RVs and mobile homes. "We can take care of your extended warranties. You don't have to take the RV back to the original dealer."
He worked for a San Antonio RV repair shop for 18 years before opening his own business.
The garage maintains a mobile service for customer convenience, conducting service calls and repairs at the customer's location.
The Olders also have a consignment lot for clients who are ready to sell their vehicles. A spacious pull through storage lot occupies a secure area at the top of the hill. "We have winter Texans who leave their RVs with us when they go home," said Wayne. "Then they fly back or drive their little Toyota and I haul their RV to whatever RV park they want and it's ready when they get here."
In addition to Wayne and Faye, staff includes RV technician David Davis and store manager Gail Goins. "Without them, I probably wouldn't survive," said Wayne.
The Olders can't hide their excitement about their new property. They've lined the driveway to the storage lot with giant foot-thick slabs of limestone found on site. The driveway and parking lot are covered with excellent road base caliche also found on the property.
A lot of time and effort have been spent restoring the old homestead, the original wood floors refinished to a high shine, applications of fresh paint and lots and lots of caulk. "There was nothing sealed, no insulation," said Wayne.
Using a small dozer to clear cedar and move caliche, Wayne has uncovered a knowledge of the ranch's previous inhabitants. "I know where they worked on the tractor because I found parts and tools," he said. The Olders are still going through outbuildings, barns, a smokehouse and an outhouse and finding old bottles, canning jars and other surprises.
Leaning against the back wall of the old garage is a headstone still partially wrapped in its shipping materials. It says, "RIP. Frank E. Heinen. Beloved Father."
"I would love to get that to a family member," said Wayne. So, if you are a descendant of Mr. Frank and can prove it, get in touch with the Olders.
Despite all the work already done, the Olders have more plans for their business. They are determined to place a gigantic Texas flag on the roof of their building! They are also awaiting the addition of a bright red awning to the front and side to carry out their red, white and blue theme.
"Once we get the awning, we'll probably go back to hosting our popular yard sales," said Wayne. "We started those to get people to slow down and stop and get to know us. We got a lot of new customers that way."
But don't let the fact that there are still a few "unfinished" items on the agenda stop you from taking advantage of Hill Country RV's quality service. They are ready to turn local RV owners into satisfied customers.
"Our happy customers give us repeat business and recommend us to new folks," said Wayne. "We do a good job at good prices."