Tampa Show Enjoys Record Gate, Steady Sales

January 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

RVers check out the displays at the Florida RV SuperShow

Serving as an annual harbinger for the RV industry, last week’s Florida RV SuperShow gave rise to a positive outlook for the coming year as the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) reported record attendance and “brisk sales” for the participating dealers and suppliers.

According to FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson, 56,953 RV enthusiasts passed through the gates at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa for “public days” at the Jan.15-19 event. “Our first day was huge, and so was Saturday,” Wilson said, noting Tuesday’s Industry Day was also well attended. “Thursday and Friday were pretty normal, but still steady. I think everyone was pleased with the traffic.”

Also fueling hopes for a banner 2014 was “an overall upbeat attitude” among attendees.

“All the negativity that haunted the industry – gas prices, lack of financing and a tough economy – seems to have dissipated,” Wilson said. “We saw it last year as people were more upbeat, but it was even more evident this year. Unless something dramatic happens, something out of our control, I think the dealers and manufacturers are anticipating another good year.”

That enthusiasm translated into sold tags hanging on RVs as dealers were “generally pleased” with sales results.

“We certainly don’t have any official numbers regarding dealer sales, but generally speaking they seemed to do very well,” he said. “I think we’re seeing a lot of people that are tired of sitting on their money and not making anything because of interest rates. It’s created a lot of pent-up demand. I heard there were a lot of cash sales and a good portion of the people who attended the show were serious about buying an RV.”

Wilson noted  that financing is more available for “qualified buyers,” which also helps spur sales. “We’re not back to the point where anybody can buy an RV, which is a good thing,” he said. “People are smarter about lending, and their debt load. It gives the industry a real solid base to operate from and has the makings for a prolonged run versus facing another meltdown.”

Although falling well shy of the “polar vortex” that has gripped other areas of the nation, Wilson said weather was a factor.

“The weather was spotty – sunny but in the low 50s, which is cool for us,” he said. “It was also windy, which made it even cooler. But it didn’t rain, so the weather really didn’t deter people from coming out.”

He added, “All in all it was a very successful show, and I think it was good indicator for the industry as a whole.”

The dates for the 2015 Florida RV SuperShow are Jan. 13 (Industry Day) and Jan. 14-18 (Public Days).  For more information contact the FRVTA at (813) 741-0488 or visit

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FRVTA: Enormous Crowds Swamp Tampa Show

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2014 Florida RV SuperShow opened Wednesday (Jan. 15) morning in Tampa to enormous crowds, according to a press release.

The host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) reported that traffic didn’t slow from when the gates opened at 9 a.m. until after 1 p.m.

“This shows the pent up demand that the last few years has created,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “If these crowds continue through the weekend, we should set a new attendance record.”

Manufacturer display space is up over 15% and the booths were sold out a couple of months ago. Seminars, entertainment, food and over 1,100 new RVs kept attendees busy all day.

In addition over 700 RVs parked in the Super Rally. They enjoyed unlimited access to the SuperShow, coffee and donuts each morning and entertainment each evening. Visit for more information.

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OEMs Draw Space for ’14 Florida RV SuperShow

August 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) held the space drawing for the 2014 Florida RV SuperShow on Aug. 6-8. Held in the office via phone and Internet, manufacturers drew over 17% more space for the 2014 show versus the 2013 show drawing. The “Grandfathered Drawing Order” determined the order in which space was selected.

“We are very excited with the results of the space draw this year,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “Our manufacturer members continue to show confidence in the SuperShow as a quality selling event. With the amount of space purchased, 2014 should be a banner year for the show and the industry as a whole. We thank our manufacturers for their support not only for the SuperShow but for our Regional shows as well.”

The theme of the 2014 Florida RV SuperShow is “It’s Your Turn!,” emphasizing the fact there will not 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 2014 Florida RV SuperShow will be Jan. 14 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. 15-19.

For more information on the 2014 Florida RV SuperShow or to register for Industry Day, contact FRVTA at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578 or visit


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FRVTA Sees Record Gate, Up Slightly From 2012

January 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A steady flow of traffic visited the Florida RV SuperShow

Attendance of 54,255 at last week’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa was up slightly over last year, but still set a record, according to the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).

”We didn’t knock the doors off, but we had better weather last year,” said FRVTA President Lance Wilson, who noted that 54,016 passed through the show’s gates last year. ”We were very pleased. No. 1, we want to make sure enough people are there, and No. 1B is we want manufacturers to sell product. In most cases, people did very well.”

The Florida show, often said to be a bellwether for the year, was held Jan 15-20 at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

”The good news is that the public’s attitude is very positive,” Wilson told ”Nobody was talking about gas prices and nobody was talking about interest rates.”

Fledgling towable manufacturer Grand Design RV, Middlebury, Ind., introduced its first product to the retail public at Florida RV SuperShow — the 38-foot extended-stay Solitude fifth-wheel.

”By far the SuperShow exceeded our expectations and down there, that’s a discerning crowd,” said Grand Design President Don Clark, whose company was represented by Lazydays RV Center. ”Many of them are previous owners and they are experts at extended-stay camping.”

Currently building only one floorplan, Clark said other Solitude layouts will be available within the next 60 days and a second brand, which has yet to be named, will hit the market in June.

Another new company, Augusta RV, Bristol, Ind., which began producing Flex-brand travel trailers and fifth-wheels, also did well, according to National Sales Manager Leif Freehafer.

”We had good retail activity and deals were written on both the fifth-wheels and travel trailers,” said Freehafer, who also is a part owner. ”The fifth-wheel drew a lot of attention.”

As reported previously by, several other manufacturers and dealers earlier reported they had good sales at the show.

Over the next several weeks, the FRVTA will sponsor regional shows in Fort Myers, Ocala, Jacksonville, Deland, West Palm Beach and tentatively, Lakeland.

”Not all the dealers are able to participate in the SuperShow,” Wilson said. ”The regional shows are for all our dealers. A lot of people come to the SuperShow and wait to make their buy at a local show.”

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Tampa Show Attendees Reporting Robust Sales

January 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Although attendance numbers haven’t been tabulated, reports from attendees at the Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 15-20 at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa indicate there was strong traffic and brisk sales.

“It was absolutely unbelievable,” said Mark Hollan, general manager of the Camping World store in New Port Richey, Fla., who reported selling 40 Itasca motorhomes from Winnebago Industries Inc. ”People have been staying on the sidelines and they have jumped in. I’ve been doing that show for 25 years and it’s the biggest show I’ve ever had and the deals are all solid.”

Dave Kelly, marketing director with the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) said attendance was good, although numbers won’t be tallied until later in the week.

”We’re knocking on last year’s numbers,” Kelly told

Last year, the Florida RV SuperShow saw more than 54,000 people pass through its gates, which was reported as record attendance. Kelly said that show space was also up by double digit percentages this year compared to 2012. ”It shows to us the importance that the industry puts on this show,” Kelly said.

Jeff Rank, president of Forest River Inc. subsidiary Prime Time RV, said the company had ”record breaking” sales.

”Traffic was absolutely awesome,” Rank said. ”We were really, really pleased. What we were seeing down there was what we are seeing at all the shows we’ve attended. There is a high sense of optimism. Right now, our retail customer is in a pretty good mood.”

Sid Johnson, Jayco Inc. marketing director, said sales of both motorized and towable RVs in Tampa were the best since 2007. ”Our guys are saying attendance was much heavier than it was for the last two or three years at least,” Johnson said. ”It’s a little early to draw conclusions on how the year is going to go, but most of the shows our guys have been to so far have been pretty strong, pretty positive.”

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Smaller RVs in Demand at FRVTA’s Tampa Show

January 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt of a column by Terry Tomalin, outdoors/fitness editor for the Tampa Bay Times, offering a rundown of the Florida RV SuperShow running through Sunday. To view the entire article click here.

When it comes to recreational vehicles, small is in big demand. “Everybody is downsizing,” said Dave Kelly, marketing director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA, which is hosting the 28th annual Florida RV SuperShow. “People want lighter, more maneuverable RVs.”

The time of the monster motorhome has not gone the way of the dinosaur, but the recession has reversed the trend of bigger is better.

“The market was once 60% motorhome and 40% travel trailer,” Kelly said. “But now that is reversed. They are selling 80 travel trailers for every 20 motorhomes.”

The downturn in the economy hit the RV industry hard. But according to a 2011 survey by the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million, up from 7.9 million in 2005.

The Florida RV SuperShow, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa through Sunday, features hundreds of recreational vehicles of all varieties and price ranges. You will still find rows of million-dollar motorhomes, but the hot buys this year are $20,000 or less.

“You can’t beat a Winnebago,” said Melissa Farrior, an RV consultant from Camping World in Bartow. “It is a household name and the quality is just outstanding.”

The bright yellow “Minnie Winnie” weighs less than 3,500 pounds. When I first stepped inside the 20-footer, I thought it would have a sticker price of $40,000 or more, but it was less than half that, starting at $17,000. Equipped with maple cabinets, a kitchen and bathroom, I joked that I could put a satellite dish on top and never go in the office again. The travel trailer, also available in white and fluorescent green, could be towed easily by my 10-year-old sport-utility vehicle.

“Part of the appeal of these new, lightweight travel trailers is that you don’t have to go out and buy a new vehicle to get it to where you want to go,” Kelly said. “They can be pulled by any truck or SUV.”

To read the entire article click here.


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FRVTA Show Earns No. 10 Slot on National List

October 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Florida RV SuperShow, hosted annually by the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA), has been named to Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100 largest trade shows in the United States for the 15th straight year.

According to a press release, the 2011 Florida RV SuperShow ranked No. 10 as listed in the annual Tradeshow Executive’s Gold 100. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Louisville Show was ranked No. 13.

“We’re happy to get the recognition,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson. “The FRVTA is committed to making the Florida RV SuperShow not only the largest but the most profitable and successful show for our exhibitors, and the 2013 SuperShow is already looking like another winner.”

The 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Industry Day is set for Jan. 15 with Public Days running Jan. 16-20. For more information on exhibiting or attending the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, contact the FRVTA State Office at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, Fla., 33578, call (813) 741-0488 or visit


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Florida SuperShow Garners National Ranking

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2011 Florida RV SuperShow earned the No. 14 ranking in the recently released 2011 Top 250 Trade Shows compiled by the Tarsus Group’s Trade Show News Network (TSNN), according to a news release.

Culled from show management and data supplied to TSNN, the list represents the top 250 trade shows held last year in the U.S. ranked by net square footage. The full list can be found at

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was ranked No. 17 and the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association’s Hershey Show in Pennsylvania was ranked No. 20.

“We’re happy to get the recognition,” Lance Wilson, executive director for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) which annually host the Tampa show. “The FRVTA is committed to making the Florida RV SuperShow not only the largest but the most profitable and successful show for our exhibitors, and the 2013 SuperShow is already looking like another winner.”

The 2013 Florida RV SuperShow will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Industry Day is Jan. 15 with Public Days running January 16-20. The 2nd World RV Conference will be held in Tampa at the same time.

For more information on exhibiting or attending the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow, contact the FRVTA State Office at 10510 Gibsonton Drive, Riverview, FL 33578 or call (813) 741-0488 or visit


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TMC Sees 40% Increase in Sales at Tampa Show

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

TMC's new Palazzo motorhome

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) showcased a host of new motorhomes and features at the Jan. 10-15 Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, providing a strong kickoff for the 2012 show circuit as the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder reported a 40% increase in retail sales compared to last year’s show.

“The Florida Super Show always gives us some indication of how the spring show season will go and it looks like it’s going to be a great year. The consumer reaction to our 2012 line-up was very positive,” Dana Simon, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a press release.

TMC said that the all-new 2013 Palazzo rear diesel “stole the show,” drawing crowds throughout the event. The industry received its first look at the Palazzo when it was unveiled in November at the RV National Trade show in Louisville, Ky. The Palazzo’s compact low-profile design makes it easy to drive while providing the amenities a premium motorhome shopper expects – as well as several they might not, according to TMC.

Palazzo kitchen area

“The Palazzo, like the A.C.E., is a game changer creating a new segment in the market – attracting many buyers who thought a full-featured rear diesel coach was out of reach. While talking with new potential Palazzo owners at the show, it was clear the market has been waiting for this coach,” stated Adam Gudger, national sales manager for the Thor Motor Coach’s diesel division.

The A.C.E. continues its success as a crossover Class A motorhome. Recent additions include the 29.2 and all-new 30.1 floorplans. The 30-foot, 10 inch 30.1 model adds a second slideout, larger shower and more bedroom storage, in addition to the already well-equipped offerings of the entire A.C.E. lineup.

Making its debut, the 45-foot, 450-hp tag axle 45LT Tuscany also was well received. The 45LT offers a full-wall slide, expandable sofa, half bath with washer dryer option, dual vanity master bath, fireplace, and Sony electronics at a price point far less than its competitors.

For more information on Thor Motor Coach motorhomes, call (800)860-5658, or visit



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Exhibitors Offer Upbeat Reviews of FRVTA Show

January 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In the wake of last week’s 2012 Florida RV SuperShow, which set a new record for attendance, several exhibitors offered upbeat comments about sales and the general mood of buyers.

The following is a collection of quotes assembled by the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) and Jay Perrett of RVM Promotions that confirm the event was one of the best shows in a number of years.

• “The crowds are bigger and more engaging than the past few years. We are selling a lot of product,” said Gary Conley of Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.

• “It’s been a dynamite show. Better than last year. Traffic has been great and it’s obvious there is pent-up demand. People are ready to buy. Today (Saturday) has been a record day,” said Ryan Hollan, from Camping World.

• “Fantastic show. The rain and cooler weather did not keep people away the first few days. Best show I’ve been to in 25 years,” said Starcraft Inc.’s Troy O’Leary.

• “We’re having a great show. There are a lot of buyers out here. Better than last year; people are very optimistic. You can see that the economy is improving,” said T.R Fulk of Bates RV.

• “We have tripled our sales compared with last year. Wednesday and Thursday the traffic was average, but people came to buy. The snowbirds and full-timers are here trading up their older units,” said Jon Sare of Forest River Inc.

• “The smaller, lightweight units have been our best sellers. We are working lots of deals. There are a lot more families out here today looking at bunkhouses. It’s 4 p.m. and I’m just having lunch,” said George Grimm, of Campers Inn Fruitland Park.

• “We had a lot of serious buyers early on Wednesday that wanted to get an early start picking out their new unit. We have been extremely busy Friday and Saturday,” said Tim Garner of Airstream Inc. as 100-plus shoppers were looking at units in the Bates RV display.

• “This year’s show has been wonderful. The buyers are here this week. Traffic and sales are much improved over last year. Lightweight trailers with bunks have been our best sellers,” said Sam Hunter, of Arrow RV.

• “Great show. We have more than doubled our sales from last year,” said Matt Grimes, of Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC.


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