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Pomona RV Show Signaled Gradual Recovery

October 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA logoIf anyone expected the 58th Annual California RV Show, which ended Sunday after a 10-day run at Pomona’s Fairplex, to signal the sudden recovery of the beleaguered Southern California economy, they were probably sorely disappointed.

On the other hand, according to word on the street, the rain-plagued Pomona Show was in fact a “decent” retail event – despite the incessant and unusual rains – that included a higher percentage of buyers-versus-lookers than most had anticipated and may indeed have reflected the more gradual turnaround of Southern California.

“We did very well closing day,” Marsha McGinnis, western show director for the sponsoring Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), said following the show’s Sunday evening close. “The sun finally came out, and our attendance was up 5.6% over last year for the full 10 days, 20,262 versus 19,194 last year. People came dressed (for the weather) and ready to buy.”

“And our sales were great,” she said of the 460,000-square-foot show at which 800 RVs from 43 manufacturers were displayed. “People were qualifying and buying for the whole 10 days. The closing weekend, even though we had rain and cold, people were here, buying and qualifying. We had a wonderful show. Dealers were exceedingly happy.”

Indeed, McGinnis’s comments generally struck a chord with dealers with whom we spoke, including Mike Lankford, general sales manager for McMahon’s RV, whose Irvine, Calif.-based store was showing Coachmen, Monaco, Winnebago, Pleasure-Way, Heartland and Eclipse brands in a large combined display.

“From the perspective of being in the show since 1994, as far as the weather you’d have thought that we were up in the Northwest, with the rain and the mist, the cold and the dreariness,” said Lankford, whose dealership also operates stores in Colton and Palm Desert. “But the people who came out were credit-worthy, savvy buyers looking for a deal, looking for people to earn their business. So, it was good to see those shoppers out there. We had pretty lofty expectations of doing 300 rigs. We fell a little bit short. But we were in the 200’s, and it was a great springboard for us.”

“The business was pretty much spread between 50-some-odd trailers and close to 40 fifth-wheels,” noted Lankford. “While our toyhauler business was down, our Class C (motorhome) business was pretty decent – right around 40. We actually did a pretty good job with (camper) vans with Pleasure-Way, and we did about 40 Class A’s and right around 30 diesels. That was good. So, all in all, we’re pleased.”

Lankford says McMahon’s actually views Pomona as a “tuneup” for the company’s own “huge” single-store Dodger Stadium Show in mid-November at which the retailer will show 250 to 300 RVs, including some of the 133 units it recently repurchased from troubled,Tucson-based Beaudry RV.

“We actually look at this as a tuneup for our Dodger Show,” he added. “We’re going back to Dodger Stadium with a huge show Nov. 12th to the 21st, and we actually look at this as a springboard for the Dodger Show. Actually it will be much bigger now than we felt Pomona would have been. So, we’ll take our 200-plus retails and swing into Dodger here in a couple of weeks and really get after it.”

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‘RV Buddies’ Revived, Launches New Website

October 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

"RV Buddies"

"RV Buddies" Robert, Elise and Mark

“RV Buddies” has re-launched with the third version of their online software, and is now live at RVBuddies.Net.

“After a working summer vacation,’ RV Buddies’ is better than ever,” Mark Summers, executive producer, stated in a news release. “The new site is familiar, but with many subtle upgrades.”

The graphics follow the “RV Buddies” theme and navigation remains similar to the old site so it’s easy for users to find their way around.

There are many programming upgrades making web searching easier (SEO/SEM). In addition, the new site offers phone-friendly versions for iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobile phones.

The old URL, RVBuddiesOnline.com, automatically forwards to the new website location. New episodes shot recently at the California RV Show in Pomona will begin airing soon.

“RV Buddies” is an RV adventure-lifestyle show featuring reviews of RVs, accessories and gear. The show chronicles Mark, Elise and Robert as they visit America’s most beautiful campgrounds and resorts.

The program is distributed as an Internet Television production on its own website, on Apple iTunes and through other distribution channels including phone friendly versions for iPhone, Blackberry and Android.

For more information regarding advertising or editorial opportunities, contact Summers at: Mark@RVBuddies. Be a friend on Facebook.com/RVBuddiesOnline. Tweet the program at Twitter.com/RVBuddiesOnline.

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Exhibitors Looking for Strong Pomona Finish

October 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As the 58th Annual California RV Show turns toward the home stretch of its 10-day run at Pomona’s Fairplex, the weather appeared to be clearing on Friday (Oct. 22) for the finale weekend.

And that’s a good thing, because six days of on-and-off rain have tested the nerves of participating dealers and the 43 RV manufacturers who have stepped up to show some 800 units at the Fairplex show, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) only sponsored retail event.

On the other hand, there were encouraging signs at the 460,000-square-foot exposition — versus 420,000 square feet of exhibit space last year — that the Southern California marketplace is gradually coming back to life.

As Marsha McGinnis, RVIA’s western show director, pointed out: “The shoppers have been here. They’ve come out with their rain gear.”

Statistically speaking, attendance by Friday was probably running a bit ahead of last year’s show, which ultimately registered 18,200 attendees, according to McGinnis.

And the weekend weather forecast was looking rather good, as were some of the visitors’ buying habits. “Everybody has the notion that we save our best prices for the weekend,” said McGinnis. “The banks are here and the credit companies are here and the sales have been up. The buyers have been coming out in the inclement weather and buying in a greater percentage over 2009. That’s reflected on the move-out lists.”

The dealers with whom we spoke came down on both sides of the fence with regard to Pomona.

Of course, given the weather, show reports were mixed at week’s end.

Bob Barouti, of Montclair, Calif.-based Giant RV, which had several displays incorporating about 125 to 150 Fleetwood, Thor, Heartland, Forest River and MVP lines, didn’t sound all that enthused.

“We are not totally happy, but are thankful for what we are doing,” said Barouti, who had sold about 75 units by Friday. “Of course, we are not doing what we did several years ago. We used to do 300 to 400 units at the show. This year, we’re doing much better than last year, but the economy is still sluggish here in Southern California, which has put a damper on sales.”

“You would think we’re in the Pacific Northwest,” noted Mike Lankford, general sales manager at McMahon’s RV, with stores Colton, Irvine and Palm Desert. “It’s been damp, cool and misty. People in California are fair weather fans, but the buyers do come out. This separates the buyers from the shoppers, which isn’t necessarily a bad deal at all,”

Despite the rain, Lankford says he’s meeting his goals for the Pomona Show. “We’ve had an even selection of interest,” said Langford, who was showing everything from entry-level towables to Monaco Class As. “Nothing has dominated. Our target was (to sell) 300 units, and we’re tracking about 250. We’ve sold about 15 diesels, 20 Class A’s and 30 C’s. The weather has circumvented some of our business we had targeted, but we are up significantly from last year. For example, on Thursday, we sold five diesels in the rain.”

“Before the rain, we were substantially ahead of last year,” added Frank DeGelas, president of Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. “And, frankly, we’re ahead of last year, despite the rain. It’s a pretty positive show, but it would have been a very good show if it hadn’t been for the rain. The buyer interest is high. The credit quality is good. I think we’re seeing all the indications of a pent-up buying demand. It will be real interesting to find out what happens this final weekend if, in fact, we get good weather.”

DeGelas, for his part, can’t ever remember rain like this, keeping in mind that there were times when torrential rains washed out the show back when it was located at Dodger Stadium. But no one can remember sustained rain like this. “This is unprecedented for California,” he noted, “and I think that if this thing were happening in Washington State, where rain is commonplace, I don’t think the rain would have hurt it so badly. Around here, we just don’t go out in the rain.”

Weather aside, DeGelas sees the cup half-full in a business sense because he sees a turnaround in Southern California. “This year is a whole different ballgame than it was a  couple of years ago,” says DeGelas. What I’m trying to say is that the volume is up, but the margins are up more significantly.

“Now, I’m not saying that it’s unleashing vigorously,” he told RVBUSINESS.com. “I’m convinced it will. What will trigger it? I don’t know. You know, the local politics and economic situation are pretty tough. But, that said, we see things coming back. Our dealership is significantly ahead of last year.

“But what’s the old saying? ‘It’s hard to fall out of bed when you’re laying on the floor. So, we have no way to go but up, and we are up.”

Barring the unforseen, DeGelas says 2011 looks to be a decent year.

“For Mike Thompson, next year will be decent,” he said. “We’re now well-positioned with our product and we’re profitable — certainly not much, but profitable — and going into next year, not competing with the new and used distressed merchandise like last year, it’ll be better. The question is how much.

“One of my concerns is whether we’re in a position as an industry to ramp up next year quickly enough. You know, I’ve been doing this a number of years and I see the back end of recessions generate pretty good sales when the pent-up demand unleashes. Granted, this downturn seems different because there’s such high unemployment. But we don’t want to endure all this pain and not be positioned for the upswing when it does occur, as it will sometime. The question is when.”

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MVP RV Donates Trailer for Pomona Drawing

October 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Summit travel trailer by MVP RV

Summit travel trailer by MVP RV

MVP RV Inc. announced today (Oct. 15) that it is donating a 2011 Summit travel trailer to the RVIA’s 58th Annual California RV Show in Pomona, Calif. Attendees at the show, which opens today and runs through Oct. 24, can enter a drawing for a chance to win the fully equipped Summit, which will be delivered to its new family by Giant RV, Montclair, Calif.

“We feel blessed to be able to give back to the industry; especially here in southern California” said Scott Degnan, vice president of sales and marketing for Riverside, Calif.-based MVP RV. “We are fortunate to be able to put hundreds of people back to work, and are excited to make some family’s dream come true with this brand-new trailer.”

The Summit comes standard with a raft of equipment, including laminated aluminum framed walls, EZ Lube hubs, heavy-duty stabilizer jacks, tinted safety glass windows, powder-coated aluminum diamond plate front rock guard, 13.5 BTU A/C, full size awning, microwave and Jensen AM/FM/CD player. MSRP is $17,359.

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Pomona Show Displays Showcasing 800 RVs

October 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The largest consumer RV show on the West Coast opens Friday (Oct. 15) as the 58th Annual California RV Show kicks off its 10-day run at the Fairplex in Pomona. The only RV event staged by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) open to the public, the show will feature RV manufacturers and supplier exhibits stretching across 450,000 square feet of exhibit space.

More than 25,000 consumers are expected to visit this year’s show to view the more than 800 RVs that will be on display. In addition, show attendees will also be able to take advantage of popular daily seminars to boost their knowledge about RV travel and camping, and well-known RV driving school owner and instructor Dennis Hill will once again offer his popular seminar “Yes, You Can Drive an RV.”  He will also lead a session on “Traveling to Alaska.”

“The show is a fabulous forum to learn about RVing,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “It gives both experienced RVers and those just developing an interest the ability to see an incredible variety of vehicles and gather a lot of information about RV ownership.”

The 58th  Annual California RV Show also will feature live music, appearances from well-known radio and entertainment personalities, and other attractions — including RV historian David Woodworth displaying a vintage 1931 RV during the opening weekend. The 2nd Annual Classic Car Show will also take place that weekend with more than 100 classic autos on display along with the vehicle owners who travel in RVs to car competitions throughout the nation.

There will also be sweepstakes prize drawings, including a truck camper provided by Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp., Lancaster, Calif., and a travel trailer by Moreno Valley, Calif.-based MVP RV. Other prizes will include vacation packages to Catalina Island in California and Laughlin, Nev.

For more information on the 58th California RV Show visit www.carvshow.com

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10-Day California RV Show’s Opening Oct. 15

October 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Photofrom a past California RV Show.

Photofrom a past California RV Show.

The 58th Annual California RV Show, kicking off Oct. 15 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., offers consumers the chance to see the newest and best in RVs and RV products while also learning more about RV travel. Set to run through Oct. 24, the 10-day event is the largest consumer RV show on the West Coast, RVIA Today Express reported.

“With the rebound in the RV market and heavy demand for display space at this year’s event, we’re looking forward to having a very successful show,” said Richard Coon president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “The Southern California area remains one of the top RV markets in the country and a strong show will be yet another boost for the industry.”

This year’s show will feature RV manufacturers and supplier exhibits stretching across 450,000 square feet of exhibit space. More than 25,000 consumers are expected to visit this year’s show to view the more than 800 RVs that will be on display.

In addition, show attendees will also be able to take advantage of popular daily seminars to boost their knowledge about RV travel and camping. Well-known RV driving school owner and instructor Dennis Hill will once again offer his popular seminar “Yes, You Can Drive an RV.” He will also lead a session on “Traveling to Alaska.”

There will also be seminars on “All About RVing” and “So, You Want to Full Time?” from Ron Jones. Jones is a long-time RVer and author who has contributed to several RV enthusiasts magazines.

“The show is a fabulous forum to learn about RVing,” said Coon. “It gives both experienced RVers and those just developing an interest the ability to see an incredible variety of vehicles and gather a lot of information about RV ownership.”

The California RV Show also features live music, appearances from well-known radio and entertainment personalities, and other attractions, including RV historian David Woodworth displaying a vintage 1931 RV during the opening weekend. The 2nd Annual Classic Car Show will also take place that weekend with over 100 classic autos on display along with the vehicle owners who travel in RVs to car competitions throughout the nation.

There will also be sweepstakes prize drawings, including a truck camper provided by Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. and a travel trailer by MVP RV. Other prizes will include vacation packages to Catalina Island and Laughlin, Nev.

For more information on the 58th California RV Show visit www.carvshow.com or call RVIA’s Western Region Office at (951) 274-0696.

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California Show Celebrates Century of RVing

June 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

100YrsButtonCalifornia residents will be eligible to compete for up to $100 in prizes in conjunction with the 58th Annual California RV Show, scheduled for Oct. 15-24 at the Fairplex in Pomona, and the RV centennial.

Show sponsors are running a “Best RVing Memory” essay contest, inviting residents to write up to a 100-word essay on their most memorable or fun experience in an RV. Winners will be featured in the show’s program book  and will receive $100 each and a complimentary family admission to the show.

From a California RV Show promotion

From a California RV Show promotion

Entries must be received by Sept. 1 by the California RV Show, 6835 Aldea Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406 or by e-mail to PennyNicolai@aol.com,

Winners will be notified by mail and e-mail on September.

For more information, go to the California RV Show website at www.carvshow.com.

The show is sponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

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RVIA: 2010 Show Space Demand Rebounding

April 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

KEC exteriorAs yet another sign that the RV industry appears to be recovering from a major slump, space reservations for the annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., and the retail California RV Show in Pomona, Calif., are running well ahead of last year.

In fact, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which owns both shows, reports that it will reserve 680,000 square feet of space at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) for the Louisville Show Nov. 29-Dec.1, up from 548,000 square feet last year but still down from the peak years.

RVIA's Mike Hutya

RVIA's Mike Hutya

”We already are 20% ahead of what we ended with last year,” said Mary ”Mike” Hutya, RVIA vice president of meetings and show, adding that 70 manufacturers have booked space.

The deadline for manufacturers’ requests for Louisville Show space was Friday (April 2), although RVIA will continue to take reservations as space allows. There will not be a space allocation draw because all manufacturers’ requests for space can be accommodated, Hutya reported.

The deadline to reserve space at a discounted rate at the Fairplex in Pomona for the Oct. 15-24 California RV Show was March 29 and Hutya said reservations were 30% ahead of last year.

California RV Show scene

California RV Show scene

Because of the demand for space in Louisville, RVIA will add supplier booths to Freedom Hall and manufacturer displays in the KEC’s West Wing. Neither locations was used for the 2009 show.

”We plan to be on both sides of the building and one exhibit hall,” Hutya said. ”If I get a floorplan for exhibits that is close to what the final plan will be, we probably will send another notice to members to tell them that some additional space may be available. There will be some changes by the time all is said and done.”

Recreational park trailer manufactures have been invited to display units at Louisville, all be in once adjacent area, probably in the KEC’s West Wing. ”We have no plans to use Broadbent Arena of the pavilion,” Hutya said, adding that 11 park model builders have already reserved space.

Individual park model displays last year were distributed throughout the South and North wings and the East Hall along with displays of traditional RVs.

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RVIA Offers Exhibit Space for California RV Show

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is now offering manufacturer exhibit space for the 2010 California RV Trade Show, scheduled for Oct. 15 – 24 in Pomona, Calif., according to a story in the current issue of RVIA Today Express.

The California RV Show is one of the most important retail shows in the country, providing exhibitors unparalleled access to buyers in one of the top RV markets in the country. The event draws approximately 30,000 potential customers with 90% between the ages of 23-65 years old with an average household income of $60,000.

“Exhibitors can talk to more people face to face during the course of the 10-day show than they may see in months on their dealer lots,” said Mike Hutya, RVIA vice president of meetings and shows. “And, these are solid prospects who have an interest in owning an RV, have buying power, and plan to spend money.”

Hutya added that the association is hard at work to ensure the event continues to be a must-attend event for both exhibitors and attendees.

The California RV Show will have a comprehensive promotional plan targeting consumers, including:

  • Commercials on network and cable television and radio.
  • Advertising in top newspapers and magazines.
  • An aggressive public relations outreach.
  • A targeted direct mail campaign.

Members interested in exhibiting at the California RV Show should contact RVIA’s Western Region Office at (951) 274-0696.

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RVIA: Strong Consumer Interest at California RV Show

October 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA logoMany RV dealers reported encouraging sales numbers and strong consumer interest at this year’s California RV Show, held Oct. 16 – 25 at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., according to a release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

Nearly 19,200 consumers attended the show this year, down 9% from last year’s 21,123. But Marsha McInnis, RVIA’s western regional show director, reported that while the crowds were smaller than in previous years, exhibitors and attendees at the 57th California RV Show were enthusiastic. “Consumer interest in the RV lifestyle remained high this year, and dealers reported strong sales despite the smaller show,” she said.

“What a great way to end a tough year,” said Coula Ringgold, owner of Banning RV Discount Center in Banning, Calif. “In spite of the economic conditions, we saw plenty of eager, qualified consumers and I’m happy to report we had a terrific show.” She added, “Although traffic count was down the optimism of the consumers was up, and the number of consumers still looking to purchase RVs makes me confident about the future of the industry.”

Steve Richardson of Richardson’s RV in Riverside, Calif., echoed Ringgold’s sentiments, saying, “We were pleasantly surprised by the number of serious consumers we saw at this year’s show. Though attendance was down, those consumers who came to this year’s show certainly came to buy.”

This year’s show theme was “It’s All About Fun” and promotions highlighted that theme. With many American families looking to save money on vacations in these tough economic times, show promoters worked to emphasize the fact that RVing is still less expensive than flying or driving, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, and provides quality family time.

RVIA Vice President of Meetings and Shows Mike Hutya said, “Although it’s been a difficult year for consumer shows like the California RV Show, exhibitors reported they were seeing very qualified buyers at this year’s show.”

RVIA President Richard Coon said, “RVers are some of the most dedicated consumers out there – and I am pleased with the enthusiasm reported among attendees at this year’s show.”

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