Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an Elkhart Truth article offering a response by local RV officials to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) move toward changing the date of its annual Louisville Show. The time frame proposed is for late September/early October beginning in 2014, which would conflict with the Elkhart Open House that has gained momentum since its inception. Pete Liegl, the president and CEO of Forest River Inc. which founded the event, was especially vocal as seen in the excerpt below. To read the entire story click here.
Pete Liegl, president and CEO of Forest River, kick-started the idea of an open house and as other manufacturers have piled on, it has grown into a major showcase. Some dealers have acknowledged they get what they need at the open houses so they are skipping Louisville.
When the national event is held depends on the dealers, Liegl said. Whether the retailers want December, June or some other time, that is when the trade show should be held.
However, a change in the Louisville dates does not necessarily mean an end to the open houses. Liegl again noted if the dealers want the Elkhart County event to continue, it will. That is good news for the local economy since the product shows pump money into area hotels, restaurants and other businesses. For the 2011 event, Forest River alone spent an estimated $1 million on hotel rooms, food and liquor for its dealers.
Emphasizing the open house is for the RV retailers, Liegl said he would resist any effort by the RVIA to ban the event altogether.
“They can go to hell,” he said. “If I want to have a product show, I’ll have a product show. The RVIA is not going to tell me what I can and can’t do.”