By Jacob Mathias
DNL Recreation co-owner Lori Bonsack turned her love of camping into a business venture that’s been going strong for nearly 20 years.
DNL Recreation, short for Dave, Nick and Lori Bonsack, began in 1998 when Lori and family bought the former Brettl’s Sports and Camping so they could work in a business they loved and had previously patronized. DNL is a full service recreational dealership selling new and used towable campers, camper accessories and hitches. DNL also offers full service and installation on all their products.
“You don’t realize in any business what’s involved in it until you’re in it,” said Bonsack. “You think campers come in, people buy them and they go out but there’s so much more to it than that.”
She said he she likes the freedom of owning her own business because she can make things happen as soon as they need to rather than run things up the ladder.
“More freedom in one way, but in another way you have to be very committed if you’re going to own a business. You have to be very committed to being there,” said Bonsack. “It’s a give and take but it can be very rewarding.”
After staying in business through the last recession, Bonsack said DNL owes its success to their customer service and she said her customers are the best asset to have.
“Our customer’s are happy and they tell their friends about it. That’s the best form of advertising you can get is people referring their friends to you,” she said. “We want to make sure our customers are happy. They’re doing something fun. Nobody needs a camper, they want a camper for family fun…we hope that when they decide how to spend their fun money they choose camping.”
Bonsack actually worked outside of DNL for the first year they were in business but eventually came to the business full time making it a full family affair. At DNL she is the office manager but said that like in any small business, she works in every aspect of the business. DNL continues to be a family affair and in just a few months, 27-year-old son Nick Bonsack will be buying the business from his parents. Lori will continue to work at DNL full-time while her husband Dave retires.
“I’m looking forward to not working six days a week when he owns it,” she said.
When they’re not selling campers, Bonsack and her family enjoy spending time in their own camper, visiting their permanent campsite on every weekend possible. Bonsack said she has tried tent camping but was not a fan.
“I don’t want to go back,” she said.
DNL Recreation is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM and Saturday from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM. They are located at 3731 8th St. S. in Wisconsin Rapids.