Today’s Featured Video is courtesy of WSBT-TV, South Bend, Ind., and reports on the dealer open houses underway this week throughout Elkhart County. The story follows.
RV Dealers from throughout North America are in Elkhart this week for open houses at several local companies. Many of those dealers are optimistic as the RV industry continues to recover.
Goshen-based Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. is one of several companies holding an open house this week. More than 250 dealers from the U.S. and Canada are in town to see the latest products. About a year ago, the recession forced Dutchmen to reorganize.
“We went from 23 brands down to eight brands. It was a risk,” said Don Clark, Dutchmen RV president. “What we wanted to do was to have fewer brands, but really focus in on those brands and make those brands significant in the market place, make them matter and we did.”
Like other RV companies, Dutchmen leaders say sales are making a comeback, and a recent RV show in Hershey, Pa,. is proof.
“The show was a phenomenal success for us, we were up almost 2 1/2 times in retail sales over last year, and last year we thought we did pretty good,” said Clark.
Dealers that we talked to here say they have noticed that consumer confidence is on the rise and that credit is loosening up. They are optimistic in many cases about the future.
Jeff Zemp has six dealerships in California.
“Our business is up near 40% from the previous year, so we are seeing growth quite a bit,” said Zemp.
“Having been in the RV business for 34 years, we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs,” said Bill Harrison, a Missouri RV dealer. “This industry has experienced that before, so it’s nothing new to us. I think this time that the recovery has probably begun.”
The Dutchmen RV open house runs through Thursday. Many other RV manufacturers are holding similar open houses this week in Elkhart County.