The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is sponsoring the 22nd Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show Oct. 5-9 at the Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly the Rock Financial Showplace) in Novi, Mich.
Over 200 new recreation vehicles will be on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers, and fifth-wheel travel trailers. Special discounts include folding campers from $4,999, trailers from $8,999 and motorhomes from $49,999. Plus, there are manufacturer rebates on select RVs.
With plenty of exhibitor booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on-site RV financing and RV rentals, this will be the complete RV show experience for everyone, according to a news release.
Visitors may enter to win the Ultimate MIS Race Experience package from Michigan International Speedway at the show. Winning package includes tickets, camping and VIP access (valued at nearly $3,000).
A special $1 off coupon is available at www.marvac.org, southeast Michigan Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shops, Big Boy restaurants and in area newspapers. The 2011 RV & Campsite, a guide to camping and RVing in Michigan, will be available free to consumers.
Show hours are weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost for adult admission is $8 (ages 13 and up); senior admission is $7; children ages 12 and under are admitted free. An RV show ticket will also allow entry into the Fall Remodeling & Design Expo in adjacent arena hall, Thursday through Sunday.
Consumers can call (517) 349-8881 ext. 11 or visit www.marvac.org for additional information on the RV show.
The Flint Camper and RV Show teamed up with a new partner to bring their expo back to Flint after a year off, The Flint Journal reported.
The RV show and the Flint Spring Home and Garden Show occupied the Perani Arena and Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road, Friday through Sunday.
This weekend served as the second annual home and garden show, and the RV show had been coming to Flint since the 1970s before not holding an expo in 2010.
It worked well for both parties, as more than 3,000 people had attended through Sunday afternoon. The dual-show expo brought more traffic to both sides of Perani Arena, said Rosalie Lamb, a show manager for the home and garden show.
“Our primary customers are homeowners and families, and the same is true of the RV show,” Lamb said.
More than 50 RVs were set up in the arena’s soccer facility, while the hockey rink was covered for displays on the home and garden side.
While Grand Blanc resident Laurie Thal came to look at fieldstone paving, which are rocks that come in differently cut shapes, for a walkway, she said she enjoyed looking at other booths on the home and garden side.
“I came out to get ideas, prices and just to see what’s out there,” Thal said.
Grand Blanc resident Lauren Goslee came to look at RVs, but said having both expos in the same building was a nice touch.
“They’ve got a lot of variation,” Goslee said. “We’re looking for down the road.”
Traditionally, the RV show had been held in late February for four days, but the new setup allowed the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) to take advantage of the season.
“(It’s a) little different feel because we’re closer to spring,” said Bill Sheffer, MARVAC director. “We feel good about coming to Genesee County.”
Sheffer said MARVAC does five shows across Michigan, with others taking place in Novi, Battle Creek and Traverse City. Anywhere from 25 to 70 RVs could be sold thanks to the expo, including some not featured at the event.
Thanks to the expo’s success, Lamb said the groups will talk about holding a similar event and said it was a “concept that works.”
The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is sponsoring the 19th Annual Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show March 25-27 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center in downtown Traverse City.
Over 50 new recreation vehicles will be on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheel travel trailers. There’s something for everyone — prices from $5,000 to more than $75,000, according to a news release. Booths feature parts and accessories, campground information, on-site RV financing and RV rentals.
The new, 2011 RV & Campsite, a guide to camping in Michigan, will be available free to consumers. Coupons for $1 off any adult or senior admission are available on www.marvac.org, Big Boy restaurants and three TBA Credit Union locations in Traverse City.
Consumers can also register to win free tickets to the show on www.marvac.org, compliments of Big Boy.
Visit www.marvac.org for additional information on the RV show.
The 45th Annual Detroit Camper & RV Show, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC), experienced its best show in 10 years, according to a news release.
The show, which ran from Feb. 16-20 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, recorded 18,400 attendees — a 12% increase from the 2010 show.
Saturday alone saw over 9,000 attendees, making it the busiest day in MARVAC RV show history. According to Bill Sheffer, director of MARVAC, show visitors lined up on Saturday before the show opened, with strong ticket sales continuing all day.
Over 280 new recreation vehicles were on display at the Detroit Camper & RV Show. Many RV dealers in the show reported customers looking for smaller, lightweight and more fuel-efficient RVs.
“Buyers are back,” said Victoria Rokas of Vicars Trailer Sales in Taylor. “Customers were upbeat, positive and confident about purchasing an RV as they look for more value for their dollar.”
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RVs are now attracting young buyers between the ages of 18 and 34. In fact, the fastest growing group of RV buyers falls in this age demographic, although buyers between the ages of 35 and 54 remain the largest segment of RV owners.
Sheffer noted the same trend at the Detroit Camper & RV Show, “Show attendees varied in age, but large numbers of families with young children were prevalent throughout the day.”
MARVAC also sponsors the Flint Camper & RV Show in Flint at the Perani Arena & Event Center and the 19th Annual Northwest Camper & RV Show in Traverse City, which will both run in March this year. For more information on these upcoming shows, visit www.marvac.org.
The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) will once again produce camper and RV shows at two familiar venues in the state of Michigan.
The Battle Creek Camper & RV Show will be held Jan. 27-30 at the Kellogg Arena in downtown Battle Creek. Dealers, including Caswell & Co. of Ionia; Haylett RV of Coldwater; Krenek RV of Coloma and Richards Motor Sales of Reading, will fill the arena with new recreation vehicles. There will be booth space available for MARVAC member campgrounds, suppliers, lending institutions and local businesses related to the industry, according to a news release.
The Flint Camper & RV Show will return to the Perani Arena and Events Center, March 18-20 for a three-day show in conjunction with the Flint Builders Show. The associations MARVAC and BIA of Southeastern Michigan will each occupy an arena and consumers will be invited to attend two shows for one admission price. MARVAC exhibitors will occupy what is commonly referred to as the Junior Arena and the exchange area between the two arenas. Once again several exhibitor booths remain available for display of products related to the RV and camping industries.
Meanwhile, a limited number of exhibitor booths are left for the upcoming Detroit Camper & RV Show at the newly renamed Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly known as the Rock Financial Showplace) in Novi. The show will run Feb. 16-20. For further information regarding any of the MARVAC Camper & RV shows, contact Bill Sheffer or Debra Behrendt at the association office.
The Rock Financial Showplace has a new partner and a new name — the Suburban Collection Showplace.
The Showplace and Suburban Collection have entered into a new, multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement for exclusive naming rights of the 320,000-square-foot landmark conference and expo center, located on Grand River Avenue, west of Novi Road.
Michigan’s recreational vehicle market is on the mend.
The state, with its retiree population and vast array of campgrounds, is seeing RV sales recover a faster pace than the nation overall, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“There’s been a demand, even through the bad periods of late 2008 through 2009, on the part of consumers who are looking for an economical way to travel with their families on vacations,” said Bill Sheffer, director of Okemos-based Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC).
Towable trailers lead sales
There were 6,683 recreational vehicles — including motorhomes and towable trailers — sold in Michigan this year through August 2010, according to Grand Rapids-based Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI). That’s up nearly 21% from the 5,542 sold a year earlier. Towable trailers accounted for the bulk of those sales.
“Even though Michigan has high unemployment, (the state’s residents) have a lot of buying power with people who are on retirement,” said Tom Walworth, general manager of Statistical Surveys.
The state’s jobless rate stood at 13% in September, compared with 9.6% for the nation.
Nationwide sales also grew, but at a slower pace. Dealers sold 135,158 new recreational vehicles through August, up more than 4% from the 129,654 sold during the same period a year earlier.
Michigan sales are likely are boosted by its network of 80,000 campsites in more than 1,200 state- and privately run campgrounds, Sheffer said.
But the past few years have not been leisurely for dealers.
Statewide, sales dropped 50% from 2000 to 2009, with the decline starting around 2005, according to MARVAC.
Stock market impact
The financing crunch has dealt a blow to the industry. Banks have been less willing to offer loans for RVs, though some dealers say the credit crunch is starting to ease, Sheffer said.
And the stock market has had an impact on sales, even more than gas prices, said Gennene Kitsmiller, general manager of Kitsmiller RV in Mason, a Lansing suburb.
Most of her customers are retirees on fixed incomes or are close to retirement and relying on investments, she said. Sales suffered when the market declined during the financial crisis and recession but have been rising as Wall Street improves.
In fact, the past two years have been the dealer’s best since it opened in 1961, Kitsmiller said. The store sold more than 400 RVs in 2009, up 67% from 2008 — many of them the towable variety.
Customers are looking for “more sensible” purchases in the $30,000 to $35,000 range. These tend to be lighter and easier to tow in order to get better fuel economy, she said.
Not all dealers have fared as well. Some have closed or merged into larger companies, Sheffer said.
Slow sales forced Greg Dennis to stop selling new RVs in January 2009. Dennis RV Center now focuses on service and parts. It also rents travel trailers and sells used trailers and motorhomes. The Lansing business has been family owned since 1964.
“Sales have been down and that was a big thing,” Dennis said.
“We had to make a decision to either ramp up our inventory … or concentrate on the customer service end.”
Editor’s Note: Following are excerpts from a story posted by Great Lakes Camper and distributed by RV.net. Click here to read the entire blog and for links to related stories and videos.
By all accounts, the recent Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show was a huge success. From day one, when people waited 90 minutes for the show to officially open its doors, to day five, when it was shoulder-to-shoulder people enjoying bumper-to-bumper RVs, the show was a good one — and certainly the best in the last few years.
I went to the show for four of its five days and tried to talk to as many people as I could. I also tried to get inside as many RVs as I could. What follows is my recap.
The RV dealers I talked to said they sold a lot of campers, or at least made some good leads for future sales. Bill Sheffer, director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC), said across the state RV sales are up 16% over the previous year.
Vendors said people were very receptive to what they were offering, including Rick Stafford of River Ridge RV Resort. On the first day he was somewhat lukewarm about the show, but by the fifth day he was extremely pleased. He said three couples were so enamored with his amenities-laden RV resort that they took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and drove the three hours from Detroit to Stanwood, Mich., to take a look around.
And everyone attending the show looked like they were very much enjoying the true stars of the show — the 200-plus RVs lined up in row after row of camperpalooza goodness.
“We generally come to all these shows,” said Jim Felmlee of Rochester, Mich., who was at the show with his wife, Karen. “We enjoy seeing all the new RVs. We already own our own RV, but generally we come to see all the new features and one we really like are the outdoor kitchens.”
“You know, when you’re camping, you spend all your time outside anyways,” Karen added. “So an outdoor kitchen makes perfect sense.”
Another couple I ran into was Geraldine Laczek of Macomb Township, Michigan and her daughter-in-law Debby Laczek, of Metamora, Michigan. Like the Felmlees, they already owned their own RVs and were at the show just to enjoy all the new models. They, too, liked the outdoor kitchens, and Debby, a fifth-wheel owner, said the Montana with the up-front living room also caught her attention.
Bob Dunn, president of the southeast Michigan Winnebago owners club, was telling me about the Motor City Winnies when he mentioned that the Winnebago Journey diesel motorhome behind him was bought earlier that day by two other members of the Motor City Winnies, Skip and Nancy Yates of Rochester Hills, Mich.
Naturally, I found the Yateses inside their new coach. The two had perma-grins on their faces as they greeted everyone who came aboard. They happily told people they had just bought that motor home, but feel free to gently look around.
A few aisles over I found Denny Powlison, from Adrian, Mich. He brought his wife to the show in the hopes she might catch the RV camping bug. He said she had only been camping once, in a sleeping bag under the stars — not even a tent — so he was skeptical. But she fell in love with a Rockwood Minilite No. 1809S travel trailer, and they’ll be back to the February show to make the purchase.
As mentioned earlier, most people I talked to said the outdoor kitchens were a big hit with them.
Other innovations and features — some not necessarily new but improved upon — that caught my eye were:
- Second bathrooms. Many of the bunkhouses now have floorplans featuring a second bathroom for the kiddies. And many of these have a second door from the outside providing direct access to this bathroom. What a great idea! Instead of tramping through the entire camper just to get to the bathroom, all you need to do is open the door, take a couple of steps, do your business and get out. No tracking sand and dirt through the camper, and I bet fewer mosquitoes make it inside, too.
- Skylights directly over showers. Again, not a new concept at all. But it seems manufacturers are designing these to better follow the shape of the showers so more natural light fills the shower and bathroom. I especially noticed this in the fifth-wheels and motor homes that had corner shower units.
- Kitchen cabinet/counter extensions. Mostly in Class A motor homes and larger fifth-wheels, these are the cabinet/counter extensions that you pull out to dramatically increase the counter space and cabinet storage.
- Outside televisions. As we all know, the flat-screen TV has been a huge innovation for the RV Industry. Whereas before the old picture-tube TVs took up 3-feet of depth by however wide the TV was, flat screens decreased that depth to a mere 3-5 inches. Suddenly, TV cabinets were smaller, freeing up space for other things, like storage, bigger TVs, etc. The flat-screens also made it easier to mount on the outside of a motor home, hidden behind a flip-up door, to watch ESPN Game Day while tailgating.
- Universal, Portable TV Mounts. I saw this on one of Dan White’s travel trailers in the H.W. Motor Homes display. The camper had three TV mounts, one outside, one in the bedroom and the third in the living area. The articulated arm that inserted into the mounts was securely attached to the TV, making it easy to move the TV-and-arm to and from any of the three areas of the camper. A simple tab locked the arm into the mount, and antenna/cable and power connections were located at each mount.
The coolest RV innovation I saw at the show was the slide-within-a-slide in the 2011 Monaco Diplomat motorhome. John Monterusso of American RV in Grand Rapids, Mich., was gracious enough to meet me before the show opened on Thursday for an exclusive tour of this incredible motor home.
The slide-within-a-slide is exactly what the term implies. On the driver’s side of the coach is a slide with the refrigerator, dinette and couch. A push of a button extends that slide 3 feet out of the coach. Then, another push of a button extends a second slide, this one containing just the dinette and the couch, out another 2 feet. The whole process takes about 40 seconds, and the interior space it creates is very impressive, especially since another 3-foot slide is on the opposite side of the coach.
The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is sponsoring the 21st Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show, Oct. 6-10 at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi. Over 200 new recreation vehicles will be on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers, park models and fifth-wheels.
Special discounts include folding campers from $4,999; trailers from $8,999; and motorhomes from $49,999, plus, manufacturer rebates on select RVs. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on-site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience, according to a news release.
At the show, visitors may enter a contest to win the Ultimate MIS Race Experience package from Michigan International Speedway. It includes tickets, camping and VIP access and is valued at nearly $3,000.
The show will be held at the Rock Financial Showplace and is open weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Call (517) 349-8881 or visit www.marvac.org for additional information on the RV show.
Bill and Betty Workman, owners of Vacation Trailer Park campground and Vacation Trailer RV Sales in Benzonia, Mich, were honored May 6 at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference “Driving Tourism” held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
The Workmans were given a “Stars of the Industry Award,” designating them as Seasonal Operators of the Year for their campground.
The Workmans have owned Vacation Trail Park campground in Benzonia for 42 years. They are also the owners of Vacation Trailer Sales, an RV sales business. Gov. Beverly Granholm selected this campground twice for a weekend camping and fishing trip with her family.
The Workmans have both served on the board of directors for the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC). The Workmans have also served on the board of the Benzie County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Over the span of their careers, they have served as volunteers on MARVAC’s Strategic Planning and RV Show as well as numerous other tourism-related committees.
Tom Walworth, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys Inc., is one of the featured speakers at the April 14 Spring Education Program sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVC). The program will be held in the MARVAC Conference Center in Okemos, Mich.
Walworth will lead off the morning program and review the activity of RV sales around Michigan, looking at price points, sizes, gas vs. diesel and more. He will look at trends and share his experienced view of the 2010 RV selling season. Campground owners will be interested in what RV owners will be pulling into Michigan campgrounds this season.
The other session will be led by Traci Smith, Michigan program director for the USDA Rural Development Commercial Loan Guarantee Program. Smith will outline the program which provides loans at variable or fixed rates for real estate, equipment purchases and working capital. Eligible businesses must be located in rural communities less than 50,000 population. Smith will walk through the program answering questions regarding amounts, lending institutions and loan use purposes.
For more information on the USDA program, go to http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do.
For more information about the MARVAC event, contact Event Manager Debra Behrendt at (800) 422-6478 ext. 20.