The 8th Annual Spring Clean-out RV Show, sponsored by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), Region 1, is set to run Feb. 14-16 at Germain Arena in Estero.
According to a press release, this year’s annual event features seven dealers from Florida’s Gulf Coast displaying a large variety of new and used recreational vehicles, including gas and diesel motorhomes, park models, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding campers and van campers.
“Dealers are overstocked with units from our recent show events and sales,” said Chris Morse, president of FRVTA, Region 1. “They must make room on their lots and the easiest way is to give the public a great deal.”
Besides RV products, the show offers attendees the chance to browse a variety of outdoor and camping vendors displaying equipment and accessories to help outfit RVers or provide information on camping.
The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. Both admission and parking are free. For more information click here.
When the five top Northeast Florida RV dealerships converge on the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Thursday (Feb. 13) for the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Jacksonville RV MegaShow, their 400 motor-homes, fifth-wheels, trailers, and pop-ups will take up most of the space and generate most of the sales.
However, according to a report by the Florida Times-Union, the annual four-day show is more than the motor coaches and trailers. It’s also about the number of companies that cater to current and potential RV owners, using expos like the MegaShow to tap a growing market of accessory and after-market buyers.
David’s Permanent Coatings, owned by David Adair and based in Green Cove Springs, has displayed at the show for the last six years and will be among the vendors at next week’s event.
Adair’s company, which offers an exclusive, pure poly-urea coating system that water- and puncture-proofs RV roofs, started exhibiting locally before it moved on to add other Florida RV Trade Association shows in the state.
“We started in Jacksonville and then slowly expanded to the RV SuperShow in Tampa, then through Florida and now we’re at RV shows as far away as Kentucky and Indiana,” said co-owner Jessica Adair. “We do it because we realized early on that when people can see our system, they know our product isn’t just another roll-on or protective-type coating. It’s really thick, and a great touch-it, feel-it product. It sells very well in person.”
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Based on new figures on recreational vehicle sales in 2013, Florida RV dealers say attendance at the Jacksonville RV MegaShow next month could reach pre-recession levels of more than 12,000 over the four-day event.
The Florida Times-Union reported that RV sales projections have held up, led by sales growth for towable RVs and pricier stand-alone motor homes. Manufacturers expect to ship more than 300,000 units to dealers’ lots this year for the first time since the economic downturn.
“During the recession, sales were steady, but they shifted to the smaller, no-frills travel trailers,” said Steve Fogle, general sales manager with General RV in Orange Park and president of the Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) Northeast Florida chapter. “With the economy stable and people going back to work, we’re seeing more RV owners trading up or buying larger RVs.”
Five area RV dealerships will showcase more than 400 used and new RVs and be joined by RV accessory vendors and financing advisors during the Jacksonville RV MegaShow, set for Feb. 13-16 at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
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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 www.frvta.org.
Promising outdoor traveling adventure and family fun, the Ft. Myers Recreation Vehicle Show motors into the new year at the Lee Civic Center Jan. 23-26, 2014. According to a press release, 14 RV dealers will be on hand for the event hosted by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA)- Region 1.
“Attendees can view hundreds of recreation vehicles of all different types, sizes and prices. It also features 80 outdoor and camping supply vendors,” said Chris Morse, president of the association. “For many years, the Fort Myers RV Show has been the top RV show in Florida and the Southeast simply because of the high-quality products, outstanding displays and cost-saving prices. I’m proud to say this emphasis on quality has enabled the show to grow into the largest dealer-sponsored show in Florida and one of the largest RV shows in the Southeast.”
Besides RVs, the show allows attendees the chance to browse 80 outdoor and camping vendors displaying equipment and accessories to help outfit RVers or provide information on camping throughout the nation. Items include new braking systems, RV insurance, specialized camping equipment and high-tech makeovers for older RVs.
RVing continues to be an economical form of travel. PKF’s spring 2011 Vacation Cost Comparison Study, the most recent analysis available, showed that a family of four could save 27% to 59% on vacation costs by traveling in an RV, depending on the type of trip taken and RV used. A two-person travel party (the typical empty-nest couple) would save 11% to 46 %. With continuing higher fuel prices, more than 80% of RV owners say their RV vacations cost less than other forms of vacation.
“For the majority of RV buyers, the interest on their purchase is tax deductible since it qualifies as a second home,” Chris continues. “Now is the time to buy since RV prices have never been lower, making the RV lifestyle surprisingly affordable.”
The 29th Annual Fort Myers RV Show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 with children under 16 free. Parking is free courtesy of the FRVTA. For more information visit www.frvta.org/rv-shows.
The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will host the 29th Annual 2014 Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 15-19. According to a press release, the RV SuperShow will again be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
FRVTA reported that the 2014 SuperShow will have representation from every major RV manufacturer as well as hundreds of accessory booths exhibitors. ”We will have more supplier booths and every type, size and style of RV on the market,” said Marketing Director David Kelly. ”With the addition of new entertainment and more seminars, we’re anticipating record crowds this year. We’re also renewing the two-day pass so the public will have two full days to see everything at the SuperShow at no additional cost.”
The theme of the 2014 Florida RV SuperShow is “It’s Your Turn.”
“A lot of people have held off either buying their first RV or upgrading what they have,” Kelly said. “The ‘It’s Your Turn’ theme conveys that now’s the best time to buy, and you deserve it. With hundreds of RVs on display and educational seminars, the SuperShow is the place to trade in your old RV or get all the information you need to get acquainted with the RV lifestyle.”
In addition, some of Florida’s finest campgrounds and resorts will have booth exhibits to show attendees the best camping opportunities found anywhere. A huge display of camping accessories and supplies will be found in the Camping World Store. Entertainment will include clowns and unicycle riders along with barbershop quartets and bagpipe bands.
The Super Rally celebrates its 27th year at the SuperShow. The rally is open to any RV clubs and the general public, and offers a number of amenities, including free admission to the SuperShow all five public days, meeting facilities for RV clubs, free coffee and donuts every morning, and seminars. Three nights of entertainment and refreshments are also included.
Admission to the SuperShow is $10 for adults and that includes a second day admission for the cost of one day and children under 16 are free. The SuperShow hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. s).
For more information visit www.frvta.org.
Region One of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) will hosts its annual fall recreation vehicle show at Germain Arena in Esterom, running Nov. 1-3. According to a press release, this is the first local RV show of the season during what many are saying will be a banner year for the RV Industry.
Called the “Fall Clean-Out RV Show,” the three-day-event will feature seven local dealers “cleaning out” their new and used inventory to make room for new 2014 models. Vehicles on display will include a wide selection of new and used recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges. A variety of exhibitors also will be on hand, including a mobile phone service, a campground, financial services, an electric scooter provider and a portable boat vendor.
“This admission-free event is the association’s way of saying ‘thanks’ to the public for supporting us throughout the year,” said Chris Morse, president of Region One. “By sponsoring these shows, the trade association allows the public to view lots of RVs in one place.”
The recreation vehicle show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days. Admission and parking are free for everyone. Onsite financing will be available to qualified buyers.
Click here for more information.
Northeast Florida RV dealers reported a steady stream of visitors during the inaugural fall RV show at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds in Elkton, Fla., last week. According to a press release, the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) said the event was a success, attracting more than 2,000 people to the venue over its four-day run, Oct. 10-13.
The event drew many attendees from surrounding St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and northern Volusia counties. Palm Coast residents Tom Ckee and his wife, Lisa, said they attended the show to get ideas on which type of RV they will buy later.
“We’re retiring in a year or two and we’re going to be buying a motor home,” Tom Ckee said. “This certainly beats traveling all over the place to see everything. It’s nice to have all the different RV types, from all the manufacturers, in one place.”
There were more than 200 new recreational vehicles on display at the fairgrounds, including motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels and tent campers. Peter and Donna Accorti, who live in St. Augustine, were at the show when it opened on Thursday to check out RVs for the very first time.
“It’s a beautiful place to have it, here at the fairgrounds where you can talk one-on-one with the all the salesmen, and there’s a lot less pressure in this type of environment,” Donna Accorti said.
The weather, which threatened to be a problem earlier in the week, cleared up in time for the Thursday opening to the relief of the RV dealers and vendors at the fairgrounds.
“Since it’s a first-time event, we really didn’t know what kind of crowd we were going to draw, but we did well,” said Ocean Grove RV Supercenter General Manager Rob Rothenhausler. “The weather was perfect, which is always good when you have an outdoor event like this.”
Camping World Inc. dealerships in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, which had 64 RVs on display, were positive about the decision to hold the fall event.
“We closed a couple of deals by noon the first day, so we knew it was going to be a good show,” said Camping World RV specialist Robert Houser.
Dick Gore, president of Dick Gore’s RV World, was impressed with the fairgrounds location – and the turnout.
“Everyone involved did their job and we had a great show,” Gore said. “The fairgrounds turned out to be a great facility.”
Gore said that each RV show is unique, and with the ever-changing designs and amenities being developed by manufacturers, there’s always something new to see.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes and it’s still changing as we go along,” he said. “Every year the manufacturers come up with something different. The lightweights have been big and that’s where the industry has been going the last few years.”
Rivers RV General Sales Manager Trevor Bild also said he was excited by the amount of interest the show generated.
“We had some very friendly people come by our display,” Bild said. “There was a lot of traffic and I was surprised that many of them were first-timers who had never been to an RV show before.”
Bild said Rivers RV sold 10 units through the show, which was a good number given it was the dealers’ first fall event in a new venue.
“We had expected more interest in campers and trailers, so we were surprised to sell two motorhomes at the event,” he said. “Next year, we’ll be bringing more motorhomes to display. And the weather couldn’t have been better. I just hope we get the same next year.”
Participating dealers included Camping World RV Sales (Jacksonville), Camping World RV Sales (St. Augustine), Dick Gore’s RV World (Jacksonville), Ocean Grove RV Supercenter (St. Augustine), Rivers RV Sales (Jacksonville) and General RV Center (Orange Park). All the dealers serve the northeast Florida market.
The same dealers plan to take part in the Jacksonville RV Show, scheduled for Feb. 13 – 16 at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
Brimming with new selling information, market data and innovative merchandising ideas, close to 300 FRVTA members learned about “Taking Care of Business…The RV Way” at the 33rd Annual FRVTA State Convention.
Held at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach Sept. 5-8, attendees participated in several days worth of intensive schooling combined with a host of events and activities, according to a press release.
“Certainly the RV Industry in general and specifically here in Florida has seen great growth over this past season,” said FRVTA Executive Director Lance Wilson in a press release. “So our members continue to be successful in their businesses, we strive to make sure attendees learn from the best in the RV Industry.”
Featuring a ‘70s theme, this year’s annual convention provided attendees with an in-depth look at national RV trends via a panel stocked with representatives from all sectors of the RV Industry. Each reviewed the successes and strains they experienced as well as what they see their particular industry segment achieving in the coming year.
Besides a national RV industry outlook, members heard from an informative panel of Florida legislators who provided an in-depth update on Florida’s government and how new mandates from Tallahassee affect RV-related businesses in the Sunshine State.
The event opened Thursday evening with the “We Are Family” welcome reception, followed by a gathering at the “I Will Survive” Hospitality Room located along the Gulf of Mexico.
Friday marked the convention’s official opening, led by Wilson who recognized sponsors, first-time attendees and FRVTA staff. The general session was highlighted by the RV Industry Panel, offering members a broad look at the state of the RV industry and associated sectors in Florida. Speakers included:
• Ernie Shumacher, RV executive for Bank of America’s Dealer Financial Services said that he expects interest rates to rise going forward, but that there is still lots of retail money available and at great rates. He believes the RV industry in general is seeing such great wholesale and retail numbers due to so many RVers holding onto their units during the recent economic troubles that they now are feeling more comfortable buying again as the economy improves. He emphasized that dealers should continue to get money down on unit sales. Additionally, Ernie said that dealers are doing a great job moving product and keeping their aging levels low.
• Jeff Hirsh, CEO of Campers Inn and current chairman of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), remarked that he believes dealer anxiety is up due to the changing business model dealers face, marked by “mom and pop” businesses facing competition from national and regional multidealerships with online sales activity. Saying dealers can’t be all things to everyone, he stressed that there is a vast array of opportunity available and dealers should choose their niche and master it.
• Tim Hyland, Recreation/Specialty Vehicles Group president for GE Capital-Commercial Distribution Finance, said all indications point toward continued RV industry growth. He related that dealers should remember the recent past troubles from the Great Recession and work to keep their dealerships healthy. He also warned about rising healthcare costs and regulations in general. Tim revealed that GE’s strategy is to be proactive in dealing with the growing regulation of business, saying they anticipate the process for strategic advantage.
• Jim Musbach, CEO for Coast Distribution Systems Inc. said the Great Recession prompted parts and accessories to become a larger part of a dealership’s business as overall unit sales fell. That’s why he and his business are here to serve the on-time parts delivery needs of RV Dealerships.
• Derald Bontrager, President and CEO of Jayco, Inc., said RV manufacturers are quickly approaching the record shipment levels reached back in 2006. In fact, he believes the RVIA shipment numbers may be on the conservative side. However, there are now far fewer manufacturers than before, meaning larger shipment levels and more business for remaining manufacturers. Derald said RV products are now more affordable than ever with new features and floorplans, all while the average RV buyer age has been trending down thanks to the national Go RVing marketing campaign.
• Pat O’Neill, owner of Camp Gulf in Destin and current Chairman of the Florida/Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (FLARVC), said dealers should sell the adventure aspect of RVing – the trip, friends, views, overnights – the total RV experience. Pat stressed that attendees should be cautious going forward, watch their numbers, and make sure they have a plan and follow it.
Other highlights included:
• Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia took the stage to reviewed the association’s principles that strive to treat all dealers the same no matter their size. He said RVDA is working hard to keep the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from disrupting the current dealer vehicle lending system. He also reviewed the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) that was established years ago to foster better relationships between dealers and manufacturers. With the same idea in mind, RVDA also offers a Model Dealer Agreement that reviews a variety of manufacturer–dealer responsibilities and enables dealers to compare against their own manufacturer agreement.
• James Ashurst, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) vice president of public relations and advertising also reviewed the Go RVing program goals, including generating consumer leads for dealers to follow up with. RVIA is seeking to do this by stretching budgeted dollars via co-promotions through four sectors: national and local public relations activities; advertising partnerships; digital outreach; and non-RV specific consumer events. Ashurst reported the Go RVing web page upgraded and redesigned for ease of use.
• The final morning session was the annual Legislative Roundtable discussion moderated by FRVTA General Counsel Marc Dunbar. Participants included Sen. Jack Latvala, from District 16 in Pinellas County and a return speaker from last year; Sen. Greg Evers of District 2 in the Panhandle; and Rep. Jake Raburn of Dist. 57 in Hillsborough County.
On Saturday, breakout sessions offered a variety of seminars selected to appeal to all aspects of the RV Industry.
Featured speakers were: Ryan Marlar, specialist with the Florida Department of Revenue who updated tax law; Jerry Mann of Vantage Benefit Solutions detailed how to prepare for Obamacare; Allen Monello of the Automotive Industry Center for Excellence reviewed dealer compliance issues; Musbach from Coast Distribution spoke on establishing a quality parts department; Tom Walworth from Statistical Surveys Inc. outlined Florida RV Industry trends; and Erick Swinson from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney gave a detailed outlook on economic and financial trends.
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 www.frvta.org.