Ind. Retailer Sees RVing Becoming a ‘Lifestyle’
The news from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) that shipments for May were up nearly 12% over last May came as no surprise to Joe Wooldridge, sales manager at Indiana’s Great Lakes RV Center and Elkhart RV Center.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, the company sells RVs not just to a local audience but a national one as well via the Internet. His company delivers them as far away as Canada and Alaska.
“There was a tremendous surge of travel trailers in the spring, which is a seasonal type of activity,” Wooldridge said. “May was a very, very good month for us.”
At Great Lakes RV Center and Elkhart RV Center, sales for the year are up over last year and are going very well, Wooldridge said. The same is true for the entire industry. Through the first five months this year, total RV shipments have now reached 144,015 units, up 13% compared with the same period last year.
Considering that each of the last three years has been up compared with the year prior, that’s saying something, especially in northern Indiana, where more than 83% of all RVs nationwide are made. Elkhart County alone employs more than 24,000 people connected with the industry.
What Wooldridge is seeing are a lot more customers who are opting for the lifestyle on more of a full-time basis, rather than just for vacations.
“There’s a lot more people taking extended times,” he said. “They have that ability to do that, of course. But they are spending three months, six months at a time (in their RVs).”
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