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“#VanLife:” Idaho business sees increase in sales for custom vans during pandemic

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Future in Focus: Sun Valley

Even in the wake of a pandemic, some businesses are seeing growth. Jay Sfingi and Josh Shelter co-owners of Sync Vans have been selling customized sprinter vans in Bellevue, Idaho for almost five years. In the last two years, the company has seen some major growth, but when coronavirus hit Blaine County, Sfingi and Shelter had to close their doors. 

What happened when Sync had to go fully online for a few weeks differed from what many other businesses went through.  

From closed to increased sales

“COVID hit and we were shut down for a little bit. Sales did not go away which was interesting because there are a lot of crazy things going on,” Sfingi said. “Sales stayed solid and have been and continue to be solid through this whole thing. So while we were shut down from a production perspective. (That) impacted us for 30 to 60 day’s sales were still incredibly strong.”

Sfingi says he is not sure if sales over the past few months had anything to with the coronavirus, rather Sfingi believes something else is going on. 

[‘Quarantine by the lake:’ Amidst pandemic, cabin rental company sees business increase]

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Sync Vans recently earned some national attention when the New York Times wrote an article detailing van life

“My intuition here is these are people who have been contemplating or thinking about this van life experience for a year or two,” Sfingi said. “I think the uncertainty surrounding travel in the broadest sense Airbnb to airplanes and hotels have pushed them over the edge and said ‘to heck with it we’re gonna do it.’”

Uptick

Sync Vans has seen an uptick in sales. In 2019, they sold 27 vans. In 2020, they’ve got 42 vans scheduled to sell, and 50 vans scheduled already for 2021.

[BoiseDev launches Future in Focus with expanded coverage of Sun Valley & McCall regions]

Before Sync Vans temporarily shut down its in-person operations, Sfingi said the company was already booked out for six months. He admittedly said he felt some anxiety in not knowing how long the shutdown would last. 

Sfingi is confident in his business model, he knows vans are becoming more mainstream and believes more and more people are developing an appetite for the outdoors. 

“I’m a motorhome kid myself, so I grew up that way,” he said. “So to me, this is a little revisiting of my experiences, and in some small humble way trying to contribute to somebody else’s.”

Autum Robertson
Autum is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Ketchum, McCall and general news. Contact her at autum@boisedev.com.

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