By Dana Delgado
When the world seemed to have cruelly robbed them of their dreams just as they were beginning their family, Scott Smith and Lisa Endicott knew they had to pull it all together and find a way to make it work.
Today, their vision of a family is becoming a true reality through their business American RV Specialists. The couple along with their children, Dakota, age 22, and Colt, age 21, and an experienced hand-picked staff are transforming an abandoned building at 14700 State Hwy 29 in Liberty Hill into one of the region’s premier and most complete recreational vehicle facilities.
Offering a broad range of services including mechanical repair, body work, truck tires and accessories, custom paint and glass repair as well as maintaining a stock of RV parts, American RV Specialists, which opened in June, has had over 140 jobs in their first six weeks, according to Scott Smith.
They also work on boats and horse trailers and are able to do fiberglass repairs along with addressing other issues involving hydraulics, electrical, plumbing, generators and air conditioning.
“We have been very busy, but are determined to do it right,” said Ms. Endicott. “We are a one-stop shop for RV maintenance and repair, servicing all types of vehicles and other equipment,” said Smith. “Dealing with repair issues is often a frustrating process so our number one priority is to quickly diagnose and then correctly repair any problems using only quality materials and replacement parts.”
American RV Specialists is situated on eight acres, six of which are dedicated to storage, and provides its services from a massive 30,000- square-foot building. By Sept. 1, locally recognized business Doc’s Motorcycles will move into the facility to serve their customers there.
Smith said the partnership with Doc’s Motorcycles compliments their RV services as they strive to become a comprehensive facility that will also eventually add more truck accessories. Also under consideration are the addition of covered storage, a convenience store stocked with travel supplies and RV stalls with full set-ups.
Their business might have never happened had the couple not braved through the heartbreak that beset them two decades ago. After having their first child Dakota, Ms. Endicott found herself pregnant again. This time, however, it was a boy. Within four months after being born, their newborn, Colt, was diagnosed with cancer.
“Doctors gave him 20 percent chance of surviving,” said Ms. Endicott. “It completely changed our perspective. Everything else was minor compared to what we were dealing with.”
At age one, Colt had a bone marrow transplant. For the next four to five years, the young family was in and out of hospitals with baby Colt as medical bills mounted to an unfathomable amount.
“His older sister Dakota made him talk and walk,” Ms. Endicott said. “We all pulled together and never gave up. Over the years, we had so much given to us. Today, we try to wake up each morning to make someone’s life better. We acknowledge others and show compassion. You just don’t know what others are going through.”
Because of their experiences and battle with cancer, Ms. Endicott said taking care of their customers is their primary goal, their signature service.
“We even wash, clean and vacuum all vehicles,” she said.
American RV Specialists got its start in Leander on Parmer Boulevard before relocating to Liberty Hill earlier this summer.
“We had driven by the (Liberty Hill) facility for years,” said Ms. Endicott. “We finally decided that since we live here in Liberty Hill, we wanted to be closer to home. The buildings are perfect for our operations. It’s a blessing and we want to thank everyone for being so understanding during our transition.”
Smith, a master fabricator and certified in countless other specializations, is overseeing service operations and has made it a point to do business locally. Ms. Endicott is tending to the finances.
The two met in Wyoming and would later find their way to Texas where they would fall in love with Texas weather after having to endure long, cold winters. Adjusting to the landscape, however, would take some time. Smith grew up working on tractors and was driving by age 10 in rural upstate New York. His father’s shop offered him many opportunities to learn his craft but being a teenager, he and his dad “butted heads.”
“We could never get along when we were working together,” Smith said. “He’d bust my chops, but he taught me everything I know.”
At age 16, Smith left home. Today, he would like nothing better than to work together with his dad.
“I’d love to have him down here with us, but I know my parents are proud of what we’ve done,” he said. “I love this business. It’s never the same thing every day.”
Away from work, Smith likes to hunt with his son while his wife likes to sleep-in and read and take in concerts with her daughter.
“Our family just fused especially after Colt graduated from high school,” said Ms. Endicott. “Everything has gone like it’s supposed to. We just put it in God’s hands.”