gérard - Company- Story
Planning to retire in 1966, Willi Gérard (1913 – 1993), sold his grocery stores and leased out a good number of gas stations, his mineral oil wholesale company, as well as a restaurant and bowling alley.
Now he could devote his time to his love for camping by taking long trips with his caravan. He pitied those poor souls who had to vacation in a hotel. Already in the thirties he traveled the great German rivers with his dinghy and a tent. In 1960 he bought his first tent trailer.
The vehicle pulling it was a Ford, model “Bath Tub”, as the Ford 17M P3 was lovingly called. In 1962 he purchased an Eriba Faun, which he picked up himself at the manufacturer’s in Bad Waldsee. The owner, Mr. Erwin Hymer himself handed over and explained the vehicle.
In 1966 he purchased and picked up the first Bürstner caravan, a “Delphin 380 TN” in Kehl on the river Rhine. Within fourteen days the vehicle was sold and another one, from the same company, was ordered. Soon after, a second, smaller model, the “Delphin 320 N” was ordered, and further orders followed. When a fire nearly destroyed the entire Bürstner plant in the fall of 1968, Willi Gérard committed to an order of 20 caravans and paid cash in advance. Through this financial support, Bürstner’s solvency, which was threatened through lack of insurance could be restored and the production of caravans continued. Within only a few years, Bürstner grew to be the largest caravan manufacturer in Germany at the time.
In 1968 Klaus Wilhelm Gérard joined the company “Wohnwagen-Vertrieb Bayern” (Caravan Marketing Bavaria), with its compound then located on Main Street in Peissenberg, Bavaria, and assumed the position of General Manager. Caravans of the make De Reu (Belgium), and Sprite (England) were imported in large numbers and successfully distributed (at the time the Sprite 300 cost €1,500).
For a short time, the firm Kleinz of Bad Kreuznach, delivered its vehicles to Peissenberg. Eventually a contract was signed with the firm Wilk in Bad Kreuznach. Arrangements were made for additional display space as well as a service garage. Soon the company burst at the seams. The spacious compound on Aich Street in Peissenberg was found, and completed with an administration office, a camping accessories store and a service garage. Until this day the business is constantly modernized and adapted to the requirements of the market.
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