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Tampa Show: Good Sign for the Rest of 2011

Posted By Bob Ashley On January 18, 2011 @ 10:06 am In Breaking News | No Comments

superShowLogo-transThe Florida RV SuperShow set a new attendance mark with 53,117 people passing the gates of the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa when the show concluded Sunday (Jan. 16) — an increase of 4.7% over 2010.

”There was good attendance and good sales,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA). ”We’ve had good attendance all along (at other SuperShows) but sales at some of the others have lagged a little bit.

”Everybody that I talked to was well into double-digits on sales and some dealers were into triple digits as far as sales are concerned.”

The show missed by fewer than 18 hours severe weather that swept across the Sunshine State spawning rain, high winds and tornado warnings, which hampered workers Monday (Jan. 17) as they were disassembling show displays.

”Thank heavens, it didn’t happen yesterday,” said Andy Baer, general manager of KZRV LP, Shipshewana, Ind.,  who reported strong sales during the five-day show.KZ logo

Billed as among the largest RV shows in the U.S. with more than 450 vendors and 1,065 display coaches registered this year, the Florida RV SuperShow often sets the stage for the late-winter retail season.

”I’ve been coming to the SuperShow since 1994, and I’d have to say this was one of the best I’ve been too,” Baer said. ”And I’m not talking just about sales. It’s so nice to talk to people who are so very positive. It’s like someone flipped a switch. Everybody was very upbeat.”

Keystone Rv Co. logo”There was a lot of buying going on,” said Andy Cripe, a division manager for Keystone RV Co., Elkhart, Ind. ”I’m not going to say it was record-breaking, but it was sustainable. We saw real prudent buyers and even with the more stringent financing terms, a lot of people put cash down and bought.”

”Hopefully, this is a sign of what is going to happen in 2011,” said Matt Thompson,  Elkhart-based Thor Motor Coach  diesel division vice president, who reported that the company’s new A.C.E Class A motorhome sold particularly well. ”If it is (a sign), it should be a very good year for the RV industry. Thor Motor Coach did very well at the show as a company.”ThorMotorCoach_and_ACE

Ed Kinney

Ed Kinney

Ed Kinney, Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind., vice president of sales and marketing, termed attendance and sales ”incredible.”

”The high-line fifth-wheel market was really hot,” Kinney said. ”The SuperShow always sets the tone for the year. For Carriage, it’s going to be an unbelievably great year.”

Based on Tampa and initial returns from other early winter shows, meanwhile, 2011 is looking pretty good for Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc.

Jeff Babcock

Jeff Babcock

“Taking into account the first two weeks of shows, Pittsburg was a good show and the Cleveland Show was the best we’ve had in years,” National Sales Manager Jeff Babcock told RVBUSINESS.com. “And the Tampa Show, finishing up this past weekend, ended up better than years past. So, it’s a great start, and we’re looking for a good year.

“We think it’s going to break loose here this year.”

Fleetwood RV logoSimilarly, Fleetwood RV Inc., Decatur, Ind., reported ”excellent” show traffic.
”Overall, the Tampa Super Show was a great way to kick off the retail show season,” Fleetwood said in a statement.
Jeff Fought, vice president of Cruiser RV LLC, Howe, Ind., reported the company doubled its sales from years past at the SuperShow.
”I’ve always considered the Tampa Show to be a good early indicator of what the retail show season will bring us,” Fought said in a news release. ”If that holds true, I’m excited for our entire dealer base.”

Roger Martin, Winnebago Industries Inc. vice president of sales and marketing, said the Forest City, Iowa-based motorized manufacturer, was ”thrilled with traffic and sales activity” at the show.

”Dealers representing us there reported sales activity nearly three times better than last year, Martin said.

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