Officially opening Sunday evening with an informal reception, Eagan, Minn.-based distributor Bell Industries Recreational Products Group (RPG) is holding its annual RV and marine buying show Jan. 9-10 offering dealers a chance to shop its portfolio of aftermarket parts and accessories.
“The reception is a chance for our dealers and vendors to meet in a relaxed setting, giving people the chance to mingle and also for dealers to get a quick preview of what’s available,” offered Ross Carlson, vice president of marketing and product line management for Bell Industries RPG, a subsidiary of Bell Industries Inc.
Held for the seventh straight year at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., Carlson reported that around 625 people representing 150 dealerships are attending this year’s event. He noted that Bell’s primary territory is the upper Midwest with distribution centers in Eagan, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We have found that the Kalahari Resort provides a great place for people to bring their families,” Carlson said. “There are a lot of activities in the indoor theme park and we also have a casino night that has become pretty popular.”
The main attraction, however, is the array of product display booths. Carlson said that the cross section of select vendors are showing and demonstrating over 140 lines, including 17 companies attending the event for the first time.
“The RV industry is the biggest part of our business,” he said, “but we also offer a nice selection of products for the marine and powersports dealers. Obviously, there are also a lot of products that cross over between the industries.”
He added, “One of the draws is that in addition to showing product, vendors are offering programs representing the best pricing that dealers will see this year. We can start shipping in January, but we also offer extended date terms, meaning that for a qualified order we can hold off shipping until April, May or June when they actually start selling the products.”
Carlson said that Bell was coming off a “pretty strong 2011” and is looking for more growth in 2012, adding that the January buying show annually provides a boost for the rest of the year.
“It has proven to be a really good event,” he said. “Dealers leave with good knowledge of the product for coming year. It also gives us the opportunity to show that we appreciate their business. We are intent on making the show a good time as well as productive.”