SACRAMENTO, Calif — It's a story we've seen and heard time and time again, the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to make a career change, and one Northern California family is no different.
From travelers to business owners
Meet Kevin and Emily Fannan with Scenic Vanlife Rentals based in Rocklin.
The pair bought a camper van during the pandemic when their jobs shifted to remote work and they had time on their hands.
"Since we were working remotely, we decided, let's just move into the van," said Kevin Fannan, CEO of Scenic Vanlife Rentals. "We sold all of our stuff and then traveled permanently while we work remotely."
During their adventures, documented on their YouTube channel "Fannan Van," they did 43 states and 30 national parks.
"Our goal was to live in the van for at least six months," said Kevin. "About nine months in, I felt like it was time to go home."
The Fannans said they started to get questions from family and friends back home about "Where can we rent one of these things, we want to have that type of experience?"
So the husband and wife duo decided to come back to the Sacramento area and start the business.
"This was supposed to be a side hustle where we invited our great friend, Ilan Gitman, to be a business partner. He was going to kind of run the business and I was going to still be an attorney," said Kevin.
Like many start-ups in recent years, it all began in the Fannans' shed, then their idea and business took off.
"We had two vans and they sold out almost instantly," said Kevin. "Then we have a third and a fourth and a fifth."
Aside from renting their vans, Scenic Vans is a custom van upfitting company. They take commercial cargo vans purchased by clients and have them fitted with a custom layout to fit the buyers' needs.
"The purpose of a van is kind of to live with less, there's a minimalistic aspect of van life," said Kevin.
"COVID was a big catalyst for this to really take off," said Ilan Gitman. "Now, with social media, a lot of people want to experience this."
Aside from serving the community, Scenic Vans also gives back and supports other local businesses.
"We have a local cabinet maker, these cabinets that we purchased, they have the exact curvature of the Sprinter walls, we have a local person that does all our cushions, we have a local person that does our woodworking, all we do is buy it. We support another local business and then we just install it," said Kevin.
Living the #VanLIfe
"It literally changes your life," said van owner and Rocklin resident, Rob Willson.
Willson recently bought a van from Scenic Vans. He made the purchase after renting one of their vans for a quick weekend trip.
"You know, I built forts with my brother when I was little, and this is kind of like having my little fort at my house," said Wilson.
What makes the businesses stand out from similar ones in Northern California is their personal experience.
"Because of our experience being on the road, we have kind of dual lenses in the business. We have a lot of insight on van life from the perspective of living in a van and then we also have a lot of perspective from renting the vans," said Emily.
The business does what it can inside and outside the van to make the user's living experience as smooth as the roads they hit.
"Everything's headache free. We have solar charging alternator charging, you can plug into shore, if you want to, you know everything's super simple and easy to do," said van build associate, Hayden Sauger.
Emily says the business offers unlimited mileage on their rentals.
"We're really connected to van life," said Emily. "It's just really special to us and we love sharing that with other people and I think that really sets our business apart."
What to know:
- Cost: $139 to $300, depending on the model and booking length
- Bookings: Minimum of two days with up to as many days as you want
- Location: 2232 Sierra Meadows Drive, Suite B
Rocklin, CA 95677
- Business hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
To learn more about Scenic Vans, visit their website and say up-to-date on their social media.
WATCH MORE ON ABC10: Bartell's Backroads Goes to the Movies