The Elkhart County RV Open House had a different kind of kickoff this year – and that’s fine with Dustin Johns.
“I’m always happy to see the sun shine,” the president of New Paris, Ind.-based Travel Lite said Tuesday (Sept. 17) afternoon. “In 2012, the Open House began with two days of rain.”
As reported by The Goshen News, Johns was sounding an upbeat tone as the dealers rolled in, and he wasn’t alone. Thousands of dealers from across North America are expected to visit Elkhart County during the official three-day run of the sixth-annual Open House. Begun by Forest River Inc. as a smaller, company-only event, the recreation vehicle showcase has since grown to include most of the RV companies in this area.
Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries Inc., was expecting strong attendance at the industry showcase Tuesday.
“We officially opened at 9 (a.m.),” Martin said. “There were people waiting in line at 8 to get in. There were people sneaking in (Monday). Just trying to see what’s new and trying to get the advantage, and if there’s a new line everybody wants to know if they can try to figure out if they can get it before their competitor.”
Both Martin and Johns were highlighting their products on the grounds of the RV/MH Hall of Fame near County Road 17 and CR 6. Johns said Travel Light has been part of the truck camper industry for more than 15 years. The company has also expanded into travel trailers, with a focus so far on smaller-size trailers.
Johns indicated Travel Lite has grown more than 300% in the past three years, adding that other manufacturers are showing gains, too.
“You can see the climb out of the recession,” he said.
Martin noted that the Open House has gained strength as manufacturers are using the event as a platform to unveil new products,
“Typically, there’s been a shift in the industry from December to September as far as showing new products,” he said. “The bulk of what we present and sell that is new has really become an open house September timeframe that works out better for the dealers.”
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