Dan Wylie doesn’t sell RVs, motorhomes or fifth-wheels. He sells a lifestyle.
“It’s something we have to paint a picture of,” said Wylie, owner of Dream RV in Bradenton, Fla. “You’re selling fun.”
According to a report by the Bradenton Herald, Wylie sees more than RVs when he looks across his seven-acre dealership. He sees vehicles that fulfill peoples’ dreams and their desire to get away.
“You don’t have to go across country to get away,” Wylie said. “You can go down the road to Myakka State Park and you’re in a different world.”
He contends that “some of your best friends can be the guy you met at the campground on the other side of the country.”
Wylie started the business in 1998 with his significant other, Peggy Paulson. He had worked as the general manager of a larger RV dealer in Venice, Fla., and was burned out, but he didn’t want to leave the area.
So with $100,000 of his own money he opened Dream RV on U.S. 41 in Bradenton with a meager five RVs. He did so well that five years later he expanded to his current location on State Road 64.
“I started on a shoestring,” Wylie said. “You couldn’t do today what I did then because you would have to have substantial funding.”
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America Choice RV, based in Ocala, Fla., has opened a new location in Zephyrhills, increasing the dealership’s presence in Central Florida that includes the greater areas of Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Gainesville.
According to a press release, America Choice RV is a staple of central Florida’s RV community, housing a large inventory of towable and motorized RVs bearing the industry’s high-profile brand names. The dealership also offers a service center, including parts, collision and warranty repairs.
With over 42 years of experience, America Choice RV is the largest RV dealership in central Florida and is a Good Sam authorized dealer. For more information, visit http://www.americachoicerv.com or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
The Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) space drawing for the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow yielded a 12% increase in manufacturer space over last year’s show, according to a press release.
FRVTA reported that the order in which space was selected during the drawing, held in the FRVTA office via phone and Internet, was determined by the “Grandfathered Drawing Order.”
“We want to thank all our manufacturer members for their continued support,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “The SuperShow as well as all our regional shows provide our manufacturers and dealers with excellent opportunities to display their new products all over Florida. With a record attendance in 2012 of over 54,000, we are expecting the 2013 SuperShow to be even bigger and better than ever.”
The theme of the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, is “Now’s The Time!” FRVTA said the theme emphasizes there won’t be a better time to buy an RV as dealers are highly motivated and interest rates may never be this low again. It is also an invitation to discover what so many people have already found out – RVs offer freedom, flexibility and fun not found in any other activity.
Industry Day at the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will be treated to coffee and donuts in the morning and a free lunch. Public Days will run Jan. 16-20. Hours for the show are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day with seniors receiving $1 off the cost of admission (not valid with other discounts).
For more information on the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow or to register for Industry Day, contact the Florida RV Trade Association at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578 or visit our www.frvta.org.
The fact that gasoline prices that hovered near $4 a gallon earlier this year apparently didn’t drive people away from buying recreational vehicles in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, the Florida Times-Union reported.
“We really didn’t see much of a change in sales when gas prices rose,” said Matt Bateh, general manager of Camping World RV Sales on Beach Boulevard. “That’s a common misconception. The recession impacted RV sales, but gasoline prices alone rarely affect them. If a person is going to spend $200,000 or more on a Class A motorhome, most of the time the price of gas doesn’t matter much to them.”
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the market continued to strengthen through the first four months of 2012 compared with last year. With total year-to-date shipments totaling 98,400 units through April, RV sales were up 9.7% compared to the same four months last year.
“While the recession created new economic realities for most Americans, RV manufacturers responded by designing products with the right mix of space, amenities and price points, further positioning RVs as the ideal way for families to share outdoor experiences together,” RVIA President Richard Coon said.
As a segment of RV sales, motorhome shipments have showed a decline nationally. But Jacksonville dealers said the drop was minimal.
“We really didn’t see much of a change in motorhome sales, even when gas prices were at their highest point,” said General RV Sales Manager Steve Fogle. “Overall, we’ve seen double the sales each month since the year began. In fact, we tripled sales some of those months compared to last year. We expect that pattern to continue through the summer.”
Since arriving in Northeast Florida, General RV has expanded significantly. Fogle says they recently purchased seven additional acres and are currently retrofitting the former Mike Shad Nissan facility. When its latest expansion is complete, General RV will have a 22-acre dealership.
Just as throughout the country, where towables account for about 70% of RV sales, it was much the same at General RV.
“Towables lead the charge, and we’ve been doing extremely well in that category,” Fogle said. “We’ve got some great buys right now, and everybody likes to get a good deal.”
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) returns for its 17th annual RV show at the Lee County Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers, according to a press release.
Nelda Iacono, president of Region One, reported that the April 20-22 event will feature 11 dealers from throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast displaying a wide selection of new and used recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges. RV suppliers also will be on hand with financing for qualified buyers available.
“This event is held just before the summer traveling season, so consumers can make their plans to see our great nation,” Nelda explains. “Dealers also need to reduce their inventory from the busy winter season, so prices for new and used RVs have been reduced as well.”
FRVTA said that financing for both dealer inventory and qualified buyers has improved, resulting in a market that has seen RV sales markedly recover for both new and used merchandise.
“Statistics continue to show that an RV vacation is much less expensive than other vacation travel options, even when a purchase is factored in,” Nelda explained. “Even with the recent increase in fuel costs, an RV vacation is still a bargain.”
Visit www.FRVTA.org/rv-shows for more information.
The recreational vehicle industry is on the road to recovery, said Southwest Florida dealers and other merchants at the annual Fort Myers RV Show that kicked off Thursday (Jan. 19), according to a report in the Fort Myers News-Press.
The show, which continues through Sunday, features several hundred RVs ranging from $9,000 folding tent-campers to motor coaches with price tags of $500,000 or more. Over four days organizers expect 12,000 to 14,000 to attend.
Nationally, the past five years have been rocky, with the recession and volatile gasoline prices. Now, signs are that pent-up demand for RVs is fueling a modest resurgence in sales, both at RV shows and at dealerships.
First-day show attendance “was very good,” said Chris Morse, sales manager for the Skip Eppers RV dealership on U.S. 41 just north of the Lee County line.
“And it’s not just people kicking the tires and taking brochures: It’s people who are truly interested in buying,” Morse said.
As of late Thursday afternoon, Morse’s team had sold three of the 18 or so RVs at the show. And, because many of the visitors were from Southwest Florida environs, Morse expects several others will ultimately purchase RVs from the dealership.
The other encouraging trend, Morse noted: “About half the people we saw want to trade up.”
Through the first 11 months of 2011, RV manufacturers shipped 235,400 units, an increase of 5.1% over the same period last year.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) estimates that 8.9 million American households, or about 8.5% of the population, own RVs.
They include full-time RVers such as Ralph and Ann Counts, who winter in their bus conversion at Sabal Palm Park in Palmdale, and then head to other destinations in the summer, with a motorcycle and pop-up trailer.
“It’s entertaining. I usually pick up a few things that make us more comfortable,” said Ann Counts, as she and husband Ralph waited in line to pay admission.
Ralph Counts, who owned an industrial supply business before retiring, tried his hand at bus conversions in the mid-1990s, “but the market wasn’t there.”