Recreational vehicle shows in Minneapolis, Minn., and Richmond,Va., over the weekend continued the trend of higher attendance this winter than last.
”The dealers are enthused and they got a whole lot of sales to take home,” said Tom Gaither, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc.’s (AGI) Affinity Events division, sponsor of the two shows.
The 43rd Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation and Camping Show Feb. 11-14 at the Minneapolis Convention Center saw an attendance increase of 15%, while the number of people attending the 25th Annual Richmond Camping RV Expo Feb. 12-14 was up 5%.
”As we are getting deeper into the year, consumer confidence is getting better,” Gaither said. ”In Minneapolis, it was elbow to elbow on Saturday, which was a good feeling.”
Fifteen dealers displayed more than 300 units in Minneapolis, while eight dealers brought about 250 units to Richmond’s Race Complex.
”The (Minneapolis) show went very well,” said Mark Petterson of Coates RV Center,” Hugo, Minn. Both attendance and sales were up this year — back to pre-recession levels for us.”
In Virginia, ”Traffic at the show was very positive,” said Joe O’Caroll, sales manager for McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV in Ashland, Va. ”Sales were higher than anticipated and there appeared to be a lot of pent-up demand. The key is selling at the right price points, and we have sold a lot of smaller, lightweight units.”
All in all, Gaither said, ”It really does feel like the RV business is coming back.”
Gaither said attendance might have been higher in Virginia had the show not competed on Sunday with NASCAR’s running of the Daytona 500. ”That’s NASCAR country,” Gaither said. ” And, of course, they had tons of snow out there, which they don’t usually get.”
AGI also is the publisher of RVBUSINESS.com.