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Dave Massie opens up the trunk of a 1991 Volkswagon Vanagon Westfalia camper van at Camano Island State Park, Friday, April 1, 2016. Massie, along with his wife, Chelsea, and Seattle Times reporter Tricia Romano, rented the van for a weekend from Peace Vans, a local van rental outfitter, located in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.
Dave Massie opens up the trunk of a 1991 Volkswagon Vanagon Westfalia camper van at Camano Island State Park, Friday, April 1, 2016. Massie, along with his wife, Chelsea, and Seattle Times reporter Tricia Romano, rented the van for a weekend from Peace Vans, a local van rental outfitter, located in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.

The Seattle Times: Peace Van rentals fuel Westfalia camping cult

From the writers at The Seattle Times.

I never thought I would camp, any more than Harley Sitner ever thought he would own an auto shop.

For years, Sitner’s own Westfalia Vanagon had taken him to a Seattle mechanic. But the business was about to close, and Sitner, a former Microsoftie and entrepreneur who logged years in the tech trenches in Bay Area and Seattle startups, saw an opportunity.

“They were literally closing their doors,” Sitner said. “I was like, ‘No, there’s a real business here.’ ”

Three years and thousands of repaired and refurbished vans later, his business, called Peace Vans, has become such a successful operation — he has up to 100 vans on the Sodo-district lot at any given time — that he’s decided to pursue a rental business. He joins another local company, Black Forest Westfalias, in renting out the popular vans to customers for camping vacations.

To read the full story by The Seattle Times, click here.

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