With total attendance of ”just under 3,000” dealership personnel, Elkhart-based Forest River Inc. is expecting to garner $500 million in wholesale sales from Elkhart County’s 4th Annual RV Open House Week, Sept. 19-23 in and around the RV-building center of Elkhart, Ind.
“Tuesday and Wednesday were exactly what we thought they would be,” said Jeff Babcock, general manager of Forest River’s motorized operations, including Lexington, Sunseeker, Georgetown, Dynamax, Berkshire and Charleston motorhome lines. ”Sales were good. We were busy throughout all our displays.”
Forest River spearheaded Open House Week four years ago with a major dealer gathering at its Elkhart headquarters. Manufacturer participation has grown each year, and a couple of dozen manufacturers followed Forest River’s lead this year by holding dealer showcases of their own at various locations around the northern Indiana city.
Forest River showed some 620 towable and motorized units on 35 acres on the grounds of its newly acquired Dynamax subsidiary on the northeast side of Elkhart, where dealers were treated to free catered meals and refreshments.
”We had 2,000 dealers on the property at any one time,” Babcock said. ”You don’t realize how many people are out there looking at units until they come in for lunch and dinner.”
While Forest River expects to generate $500 million in orders through the end of the year from the open house, Babcock said sales weren’t as brisk as they might have been because of the volatility of the stock market and the political squabbling over spending and tax revenue in Washington, D.C.
”Dealers still have inventory on their lots and they are still a little apprehensive,” he said adding that the sales total includes motorized and towable RVs, cargo trailers, manufactured homes, pontoon boats and other Forest River products.