The pandemic had a lot to do with bringing a new owner to Outer Banks Jeep Rentals.
Like so many others, John Montgomery, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, vacationed regularly on the Outer Banks and had toyed with the idea of living here.
“We had sort of penciled this in as a long-term retirement plan,” he said.
As a writer for investment bank Goldman Sachs, he’d been working remotely since the pandemic hit and didn’t relish the thought of returning to the office. Meanwhile, he’d been perusing listings of businesses for sale in beach towns along the North Carolina coast into Virginia Beach.
“COVID really solidified it,” Montgomery said. “The Jeep business became available and it was turnkey enough. And I really thought it was a good idea. It felt like it was something that would be really in demand after COVID.”
Montgomery said it was a difficult decision after 13 years at Goldman Sachs, but he was tired of corporate life and “tired of sitting at a desk.”
He bought the business in October from the former owners, who opened it six years ago, and quickly found he was right about post-pandemic demand.
“We thought that there would be a lot of demand for excursions, especially things you can drive to like the Outer Banks,” Montgomery said. “We’re selling out pretty regularly.”
The business currently has 15 Jeeps in the rental fleet, with three brand new ones on the way. And that’s just the beginning of the expansion plans.
“Jeeps are a good platform for a lot of things you might want to do around here,” Montgomery said.
He’s adding portable refrigerators to some of the fleet for beach tailgates, along with Rhino racks to carry things like kayaks and bicycles.
He’s also working on a camper Jeep with a rooftop tent, refrigerator and camp stove for some “overlanding” adventures.
All of the company’s Jeeps are Wrangler JK Unlimited and JL Unlimited models, with four-wheel drive and automatic transmissions. The rental includes everything you need for beach driving, including the necessary permits for the 4×4 beaches of Carova and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Montgomery also provides beach-driving guidance, maps and some pointers on where to find the wild horses and other wonders of the Outer Banks.
Outer Banks Jeep Rentals is at Ocean Commerce Park, 2004 South Croatan Hwy., Unit 18, in Kill Devil Hills, near Milepost 9.75. Visit their website at www.outerbanksjeeprentals.com