Natal Caravans & Marine sets up new home…
For more than 50 years, Natal Caravans & Marine’s landmark site on the lower end of Field’s Hill was the sign to up-country visitors that they were nearing their East Coast destination and that Durban’s golden beaches were just a few kilometres away.
This established company has seen generations of visitors, many of them long-time members of the caravaning and outdoor family the company has faithfully served since it was first established in 1960 by the late Allan McKee and Eric Courtis.
Natal Caravans & Marine is justifiably proud of its reputation as the country’s longest serving caravan dealership supplying caravaning and camping equipment, along with boats, tents, and a wide range of accessories to families countrywide.
For three generations the Courtis family has shared its passion for the outdoors with families from all over the country, growing the business and nurturing it as it evolved into a destination of choice for mobile leisure accommodation and more recently, boating.
Eric’s son, Brian Courtis is well known among the veterans of the caravaning set having been involved in the business since 1968 . He took over the reigns as MD in the early 70s and subsequently became the owner. Brian’s son, Geoff, was born into caravaning, camping and boating and knew how to wind the corner steadies of a caravan before he could ride a tricycle! Geoff joined the company as a salesman in 1995 and over the years has worked in all the departments of the business. When Brian retired in 2014, Geoff became managing director.
Many people would have grown up enjoying family holidays in caravans or under canvas in tents, due to the efforts of these men and their teams of fine sales and service specialists.
Natal Caravans and Marine has moved from its landmark premises of 56 years, perched on Field’s Hill to a new home at 1 Wareing Road, previously Dales Auctioneers and directly opposite the entrance to Gelofte High School.
“In establishing our new KZN headquarters we have made every effort to set new standards and create a memorable shopping experience with all departments of our business under one roof,” said Geoff, who noted that the previous premises didn’t allow much indoor display space for customer convenience.
The 270m² mezzanine floor upstairs, totally devoted to Howling Moon camping tents on an Astro-turf surface, and the off road Jurgens XT Off-road trailer fully displayed on ground floor level, are a treat for visitors to the new premises. The new venue boasts a great open plan shop floor, displaying everything a camper could want from cooler boxes to boating and water-skiing accessories and specialist equipment for caravans. There is also a wide range of gift ideas for anyone wanting to buy the outdoorsman in their life the ideal Christmas gift. Even the luxury, so-called glamping fraternity is catered for with a variety of camp furniture and gadgets to provide all the mod-cons and convenience of urban life while out in the bush.
Ample, properly demarcated, secure customer parking on tarmac is provided directly in front of the main entrance to the building. For customers dropping off or collecting caravans, trailers or boats, clearly positioned direction signs are in place and staff members are available to provide assistance.
The practical needs of the workshop are also well catered for in their new home. Geoff points out that the management of both the marine and caravan workshops remains under the watchful eye of Nigel Gregson who has acquired a mountain of knowledge and experience of caravans to add to his well-known and highly regarded reputation as a seriously qualified, hands-on outboard motor technician. He is assisted in his tasks by a team of skilled marine and caravan technicians who all have factory certification and many years experience. “Nigel’s no-nonsense approach to getting the job done properly ensures the right job with the correct parts, on time. We have 5 caravan bays and 4 marine bays, again all under one roof!”. “Having found how useful and popular our test tank for testing engines is at Kirk Road, we have built another “swimming pool” here too”, said Geoff, adding that he believes his company’s marine workshop is the only one in KZN to provide this important facility.
According to Geoff, the all important aspect of parts for the service facility is capably handled by Karam Soorjbully’s team, ensuring this vital function is carried out efficiently and smoothly.
The well-known team of personalities remains the same, with the ever popular Jenny Krull being the face and voice of the dealership at Reception, Bill Harrison, as always, inviting you to have a good look at the latest from Yamaha and more than willing to share his vast knowledge and experience of the boating world. Karam and his knowledgeable guys in the Campworld shop are there to help you with all your camping equipment, tents and boating accessories and of course, Veronica at Workshop Reception nursing your service and repair processes in her usual efficient manner. One fairly new face in the team is Wikus Radley, on caravan sales. Wikus is ably backed by the highly experienced and knowledgeable Brendon Vos who has taken on a new role in the dealership, that of Operations Manager. This new position has been created to ensure the smooth interaction between sales and workshops for both the caravan and marine divisions, and has already proved enormously successful in improving customer satisfaction even further.
Geoff’s team of sales, administration, reception, cleaning and service staff all work together so that every family coming through the doors of the dealership finds exactly what they need to make sure their next caravaning, camping or boating experience will create perfect memories for years to come.
The outdoors is about family, so who better to trust your needs to than a family who have been in the business and enjoyed the lifestyle for three generations? Pop in at the new Campworld store at Natal Caravans & Marine and be transported to another world of outdoor adventure. The address has changed but the phone number, focus on customer service and quality products remain steadfast.
“All you have to do to find us is punch 1 Wareing Road, Pinetown into your GPS and enjoy the surprise when you arrive, “said Geoff.
The website www.natalcaravans.co.za should already be on your list of favourites on your browser or smart phone, and the phone number 031 702 7291 stays the same as the one you have saved in your phone.
Get It Magazine Durban November 2017Mags queen of the comebacks