Over 400 RV industry leaders attending the 1st Annual RV Industry Power Breakfast on May 9 witnessed Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., ceremoniously burning the organization’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.
“I am proud to announce that on April 30, thanks to the support of many of you in this room and many more individuals and companies in both the RV and MH industries across the USA and Canada, we met a challenge goal set by the Ingram family,” Searer said in press release.
The ceremony marked the successful conclusion to the Hall’s “Burn the Bank Note” fundraiser campaign where the Hall raised $150,000 in contributions and earned an additional $50,000 from a challenge grant offered by the Boots Ingram family.
In early 2012, the Hall was suffering the results of the recession and teetering on defaulting on the bank note that would have forced the Hall to close its doors. At that time the bank note was $840,000. However, through some management changes and belt tightening along with several fundraising campaigns, the Hall was able to pay off the debt in record time.
Searer said, “This marks a significant milestone in our efforts to make the Hall debt free and ensure the long-term viability of this important community attraction. Indeed, our future looks very promising. This goal could not have been achieved without the generous support of members of the RV and manufactured housing industries and especially the Boots Ingram family.”
Searer pointed out while this achievement is a major hurdle overcome, it does not make the Hall debt free. “We have two more loans to go — $600,000 to pay off the David Woodworth antique RV collection and the final note of $3 million is to the Ingram family, He said. “The Ingram family has been extremely gracious and supportive of the Hall of Fame in honor of the late Boots Ingram. As long as we meet our monthly obligations, this note will pay off with $2 million as the Ingram’s are matching the principle payment by 50%.”
Searer recognizes that the Hall still has some challenges ahead, but he remains optimistic. His goal is for the Hall to be completely debt free by 2020.