During the winter, sales at Alpin Haus, an RV dealership in Amsterdam, N.Y., were somewhat stagnant, but when April came it was “like a switch went on again,” says President Andy Heck.
Still, Heck said the news this spring is both good and bad, according to The Leader-Herald, Gloversville.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag,” he said, noting Alpin Haus is slowly transitioning into its “true summer season.”
Alpin Haus, which last year was selected as one of the top 50 recreation vehicle dealers in America by RV Business magazine, sells many other types of big ticket items.
“April has been very good for RVs, boats and pools,” Heck said. “It’s actually pacing better than the past. It’s definitely a lot more dollars (being spent).”
Heck said towable vehicles are “going great,” but sales of motorhomes are lagging.
He said he believes people are buying more boats, pools and towable RVs with the intention to stay in the region. But he said sales of motorhomes, in which people tend to travel long distances away from home, aren’t doing as well.
“That still has been challenging,” Heck said. “There’s still a little buyer’s uncertainty.”
He’s hoping that “switch” stays on for a long time.
“People think maybe we’re better off in the economy and things are starting to pick up again, maybe,” Heck said.
Dougie Aguilera, a sales consultant at Brown’s Ford in nearby Johnstown, said the consumer’s shopping habits can be volatile.
“I think it’s like a rollercoaster,” he said.
Aguilera said he believes what triggered the nation’s economic decline wasn’t necessarily an uncertain housing market, but the $4.25 per gallon gas prices last summer.
He said his dealership found then that people didn’t want to purchase the SUVs, pickup and work trucks that are needed for this area.
“People held off and were scared,” he said.
But now that gas prices are about half what they were in 2008, he said things are “picking up” at Brown’s Ford.
“I think people put things on hold,” Aguilera said.
Sales of the four-wheel drive trucks that are so important to the area are on the rise again, he said.
“In the last several months, there’s been a renewed demand,” Aguilera said.
Sales tax revenues in Fulton County — where Amsterdam and Johnstown are located — jumped by about $228,000 for the first quarter of the year from a year ago, so people are apparently starting to spend more money locally on consumer goods. The city of Johnstown, realized a $164,862 increase for the first quarter from the same period a year ago.