The first-ever Spring Hall of Fame RV Show will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart, Ind., April 26-28.
Hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC), the event will feature six of the area’s top dealers kicking off their summer selling season with special show pricing. Dealers will display the best of their inventory and the selection will include RVs to fit every budget.
“The show offers a tremendous opportunity for buyers to see and compare different models from many different manufacturers,” said Show Director Matt Rose who also serves as director of Recreation Vehicle for RVIC. “And the nice thing is they can see it all here instead of driving around town.”
The show kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. and will run through the weekend.
“Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will kick off the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 50th National RV Trade Show on Nov. 27 with an informative, entertaining program that will honor the rich heritage of the event while emphasizing the fundamental opportunity found in a new RV, a new show and a new year.
According to a press release, the free program will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s (KEC) South Wing Mezzanine Ballroom. One of the most anticipated annual industry events with more than 1,000 RV dealers and show exhibitors expected to be on hand, “Outlook 2013” will entertain and inform attendees with fast-paced, insightful presentations.
Hosted by RVIA Chairman Doug Gaeddert, “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” will feature “Time to Shine” with RVIA President Richard Coon’s thoughts on the state of the industry and where it is headed in the year ahead.
“Mining Media Gold,” is a multi-media presentation highlighting the most impactful advertising and public relations achievements in 2012, while previewing what’s in store for 2013. The presentation will be led by Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett as well as RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst.
RVIA will also welcome business expert Larry Winget to the Outlook lineup. Winget is a five-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose books offer solid, common sense advice for improving your business. With his direct, irreverent, dead-on approach, he is also a popular and frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC’s Today show.
The “Outlook 2013: A Golden Opportunity” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.
Watch today’s Featured Video courtesy of WSBT-TV, South Bend, Ind., about the following story.
It used to be a huge event for the RV industry at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind., every summer, but last year it was canceled due to the economy. Now it looks like the Midwest RV Super Show is making a comeback, of sorts, this year.
Organizers are hoping to hold a smaller show in August at the downtown Civic Plaza. The city of Elkhart is working with a statewide RV organization to make it happen.
Some RV dealers in the Elkhart area say they are noticing a turnaround in business, and that sales are beginning to pick up compared to a year ago. There are not as many RV dealers right now as there were two years ago, but the existing dealers want to get the word out about their product line.
That’s what the city and the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC) want to do, so they’re teaming up for an RV show to accomplish that.
“It’s not news to anybody that the RV industry has been in a bit of a downturn recently, but things are coming back, especially at the manufacturing level,” said RVIC Director Mark Bowersox. “We want to get the message out there that Elkhart is still the RV capital, and so there will be dealers from the city of Elkhart as well as the surrounding county, and really a lot of product that is made here locally.”
“I can feel the good times coming back,” said Hank Schrock, an Elkhart RV dealer. “It’s starting to come back this spring, and we are looking forward to doing some more shows.”
Plans call for the show to be held for three days, Aug. 13-15. The city says it has the potential to attract 8,000 people to the downtown area.
The Midwest RV Super Show used to be a huge event for the RV industry at the Elkhart County (Ind.) Fairgrounds every summer, but last year it was canceled due to the economy. Now it looks like it is making a comeback — of sorts — this year, according to television station WSBT, South Bend, Ind.
Organizers are hoping to hold a smaller show in August at the downtown Elkhart Civic Plaza. The city of Elkhart is working with a statewide RV organization to make it happen.
Some RV dealers in the Elkhart area say they are noticing a turnaround in business, and that sales are beginning to pick up compared to a year ago. There are not as many RV dealers now as there were two years ago, but the existing dealers want to get the word out about their product lines.
That’s what the city and the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC) want to do, so they’re teaming up for an RV show to accomplish that.
“It’s not news to anybody that the RV industry has been in a bit of a downturn recently, but things are coming back, especially at the manufacturing level,” said RVIC Executive Director Mark Bowersox. “We want to get the message out there that Elkhart is still the RV capital, and so there will be dealers from the city of Elkhart as well as the surrounding county, and really a lot of product that is made here locally.”
“I can feel the good times coming back,” said Hank Schrock, president of Total Value RV, Elkhart. “It’s starting to come back this spring, and we are looking forward to doing some more shows.”
Plans call for the show to be held for three days, Aug. 13-15. The city says it has the potential to attract 8,000 people to the downtown area.
Editor’s Note: The following is a recap of legislative efforts undertaken this year by the Indiana Manufactiured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC)).
While the 2010 Indiana General Assembly adjourned ahead of its March 14 deadline, it was a busy year with a number of weighty issues receiving debate and action prior to legislators heading home to face voters in the upcoming May primary and November general elections.
The state’s revenues were already well-below projections when the legislature began its business in January, and the trend of revenues coming in below forecasts continued. Additionally, the pending unemployment insurance tax increase on businesses was a major concern for our member companies and their workers. If the tax increase went into effect, it would have meant even more job losses in the manufactured housing and recreation vehicle industries in order to pay for the approximately $400 million in collective taxes that would come due for Hoosier employers. Fortunately, the unemployment insurance tax delay passed as the final act by 2010 Indiana General Assembly. Senate Bill 23 provided for a one-year delay in both the unemployment insurance tax rates and the taxable wage base increases.
The other significant issue during the legislature was approval of the constitutional amendment providing for the 1-2-3% property tax caps. This measure passed the General Assembly and this proposed constitutional amendment will be on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Specific Industry Efforts
With regard to specific IMHA-RVIC legislative efforts, your association successfully lobbied for the passage of Senate Bill 401 authored by State Sen. Carlin Yoder. The previous state statute allowed only real estate owners and registered voters the right to remonstrate against a public bond-issue spending proposal. The residents within a manufactured home land-lease community are homeowners but their homes are owned as personal property, rather than as real estate. All of the MH community residents were included in the tax levy to pay for the bond but they didn’t have the right to remonstrate on the issue. The old Indiana statute, in effect, endorsed taxation without representation.
Senate Bill 401 changed the Indiana statute to allow owners of manufactured homes that are assessed as personal property and utilized as the residents’ principal place of residence, to participate in petitions and remonstration actions on the local level. The new law will allow the following:
- Allows and encourages homeowners within MH land-lease communities to participate in petitions and remonstration actions on local government spending.
- Provides equal representation to personal property homeowners as real estate homeowners.
- Removes discrimination against manufactured home owners from the Indiana statute.
IMHA/RVIC also successfully lobbied for Senate Concurrent Resolution 44 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the RV into the American marketplace. The resolution supports and recognizes the goals and ideals of RV American RVing and encourages Hoosiers and all the people of the United States to celebrate this anniversary by taking part in RV vacations. The resolution references the June 7, 2010 centennial celebration scheduled for the RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart.
The association was actively involved in negotiations on HB 1048 authored by State Rep. David Cheatham as it related to contracts for the purchase of single-family dwellings that are not prepared by an attorney or a licensed real estate broker or salesperson. The bill, as introduced provided that the contract is valid only if: (1) the contract is notarized; and (2) if the contract is for a term of at least three years, the contract is recorded in the county in which the dwelling is located. The bill also required that the notary public who notarizes the contract must provide to the contract purchaser a form that describes the availability of certain property tax deductions.
IMHA was able to amend HB 1048 to provide an exemption for a contract in which an individual purchases a new manufactured home: (1) for use as a residence that the individual will occupy as the first occupant; and (2) directly from the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s agent, a dealer, or a seller that did not previously purchase the manufactured home in a retail transaction. Efforts to exempt such contracts for used manufactured homes were rejected by the House author. IMHA was uncomfortable with the bill without the used home sales exemption and despite passing the House of Representatives, the bill died in Senate Committee.
IMHA-RVIC also engaged in negotiations on SB 117 a piece of legislation dealing with vehicle manufacturer and vehicle dealer relationships. The RV industry has traditionally been exempted from these statutes that are designed for the automobile industry and we were able to maintain our existing status in this legislation.
The association also sought amendments to HB 1176 a proposal specifying that the recreational vehicle and truck camper excise tax applies to recreational vehicles that are not registered in Indiana but are permanently located in Indiana. IMHA-RVIC prepared amendments that would apply the same tax rate to these units as now applies to Indiana RVs under the new excise tax. Negotiations on the issue continued throughout the legislative session, however, the Indiana House of Representatives deemed this a new tax and therefore did not give the bill a committee vote. We anticipate that this issue will resurface in the 2011 General Assembly.
IMHA-RVIC supported legislation (HB 1193) for an RV sales tax exemption for out-of-state customers and a bill (SB 344) to provide a refundable income tax credit to a purchaser of a new replacement manufactured home that is energy efficient. While there was support for both of these issues, neither bill passed the legislature due to their potential impact on state revenues.
The issue of loan originators and loan brokers also continued to get a significant amount of our attention. Our lobbying team and staff were involved in meetings with the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Commission and we continue to work with these state regulatory agencies to determine the impact of the SAFE Act on our MH dealers and land-lease communities in the sale of manufactured housing.
In closing, it is important to note that the Manufactured Housing Installers Licensing Board survived another legislative session in which the administration sought to eliminate a number of state boards and commissions.
The past couple years have been extremely difficult for the RV industry, attributing to the 20% unemployment rate in northern Indiana’s Elkhart County. But now there is some light at the end of the tunnel and this weekend’s Valley RV & Camping Show at the Century Center in nearby South Bend highlights the best and brightest the camping world has to offer.
The Century Center opens its doors today (Jan. 15) for people all over the area interested in traveling and camping, according to WNDU-TV, South Bend.
The 34th Annual Valley RV and Camping Show will continue through the weekend.
“There’s something for everybody” at the show, says Mark Bowersox with the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC). Units showcased at the exhibit range in price from $4,000 to $420,000.
Bowersox says during the last few months there has been a resurgence in the business and more optimism among the industry. “If you look at the economic conditions that have impacted the RV industry, things have really started to stabilize. The stock market’s stabilized, for the most part gas prices have stabilized and consumer confidence is stabilizing and then maybe even growing a little bit.”
That growth in consumer confidence has prompted more sales this year than last year. That has also translated to companies, especially in Elkhart County, hiring workers back.
Also since the bounce-back, it seems that many companies are going green. It’s a new trend that’s been popular since the days of $4 per gallon gas. Not only are these green RVs a hit for the eco-friendly traits, but they give people with small vehicles an option to tow. “There are some more options with light-weight and newer materials that are emerging right now to be able to pull it with that family mini-van or behind that Honda Civic,” Bowersox said.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) is sponsoring two RV shows this month and promoting a third.
The 36th Annual Valley RV & Camping Show will be held Jan. 15-17 at the Century Center in South Bend.
Seven Hoosier RV dealers have booked all 45,000 square feet of exhibition space in South Bend’s Century Center and are showing between 80 and 90 RVs, mostly 2010 models, said Mark Bowersox, RVIC executive director.
“All the space is sold; the building will be full,” he said. “The dealers are back to, ‘We don’t have enough space, we need a little bit more’ which is good.”
The RVIC is tying this show in with the centennial observance of the founding of the RV industry, he noted. A 1916 tent camper, on loan from the RV/MH Heritage Foundation in nearby Elkhart, will be on display during the show.
Bowersox said Hoosier dealers are “an optimistic group” and tell him 2010 is opening on a strong note. “High-end stuff is slready moving,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 50th Annual Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show is scheduled for Jan. 28-31. The association is also promoting the Central Indiana RV Show to be held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis Jan. 16-24.
As for legislative matters, Bowersox noted that the 2010 session of the Indiana General Assembly has begun. This will be a “short session” and will end no later than March 14. The state’s declining tax revenues are a primary concern and a bill to amend the state’s constitution to include property tax caps has already been passed by committee.
IMHA-RVIC starts the new year with a new slate of officers. The following officers of the IMHA-RVIC began their terms in office Jan. 1 They are:
- President Gregg Pardieck, The Village Green, Seymour.
- Vice President Scott Hammontree, Canimex, Goshen.
- Secretary/Treasurer Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, Erlanger, Ky.
- Manufacyured Housing Chairman Bob Young Jr., Young Homes, Indianapolis.
- RV Council Chairman Barry Lang, Eby’s Pines Campground, Bristol.
Board members are:
- Pat Cross, Champion Homes (manufactured housing manufacturer), Topeka.
- Ron Kinsey, Modern Trailer Sales (RV retailer), Anderson.
- Eric Oaks, Oxford Bank & Trust (manufactured housing finance firm), Logansport.
- Tim Fister, Blevins Inc.- (manufactured housing supplier), New Carlisle, Ohio.
- Jan Wagner, Wagner Properties (communities), Evansville.
- Roger Huffman, L & W Engineering (RV supplier), Middlebury.
Despite its worst sales year since 1982, those in the recreational-vehicle industry say they have reasons to be optimistic.
RV experts say 2009 will be remembered as the year the industry bottomed out during this recession, and they’re looking forward to the recovery in 2010, according to South Bend (Ind.) Tribune).
The past two years have been brutal for the RV industry, which took hit after hit in 2008 as companies in the Elkhart area slashed thousands of jobs.
Elkhart County, where roughly 60% of the nation’s RVs are made, saw unemployment shoot to nearly 19% in March.
Then in the summer the storm showed signs of breaking.
Dometic Inc. announced plans to hire 350 workers by 2012. Monaco RV LLC recalled 200 employees. Keystone RV Co. announced it was hiring 200 workers and ended up adding more than 300. Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. announced it would add 50 jobs. Jayco Inc. recalled more than 200 workers.
Elkhart County’s unemployment rate declined to 14.5% in November, when Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced it would hire 400 workers. Keystone announced the following week that it was hiring another 100 people.
And those aren’t inflated numbers, said Mark Bowersox, director of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council.
If anything, Bowersox said, they’re low estimates.
“From what I’m being told, these (hiring) announcements are conservative,” he said. “They want to make sure the orders they’re getting now are sustainable before they continue to hire more and more of their work force back.”
Discretionary, luxury purchases, such as RVs, are the first things people cut back on during a recession, Bowersox said. They’re also the first things people start buying again after they feel more secure financially, he added.
One major concern that remains for the industry, Bowersox said, is whether the supply chain can keep up with growing production after the recession caused some companies to close and others to shrink.
He said many RV manufacturers are facing 10- to 12-week backlogs.
But “resiliency has been a hallmark of the RV industry,” Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon remarked in his address at the association’s national trade show earlier this month in Louisville, Ky. “We have withstood trying, difficult times before.”
High gas prices in the 1970s led RV shipments to fall 82% from 583,000 in 1972 to 107,000 in 1980.
From there, the industry grew steadily for 26 years, peaking at 390,000 shipments in 2006.
Annual shipments fell to 353,400 in 2007 and 237,000 in 2008.
They’re expected to bottom out this year at 159,500, according to projections from industry expert Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan.
The encouraging trend in this year’s numbers is RV shipments picked up in fall — usually a slow time in the industry — to post year-over-year sales increases in August, September and October.
Curtin predicts RV shipments will climb to 203,500 units in 2010.
And the increased shipments are not the result of government incentives, such as those that have boosted home and auto sales, noted Kyle Hannon, vice president of public policy and media relations for the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.
“This industry is truly responding to what people want,” Hannon said.
Towable RVs are pulling the weight of the industry, as buyers look for models that are more fuel efficient and less expensive than motor homes, experts say.
This trend repeats the pattern of other post-recession rebounds in the RV industry, said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.
“Historically, the towables are the first to recover out of any recessionary period,” she said.
Bowersox said motorhome sales composed nearly 40% of the RV market a few years ago. Now they account for around 10% of sales, he said.
The nation’s demographics, with millions of Baby Boomers on the brink of retirement, also work in the industry’s favor, said Bob Martin, executive vice president of Keystone RV in Goshen.
“Even when things were slow for us, campgrounds were still full,” Martin said. “It’s not a lifestyle that people just give up.”
Baby Boomers are important to the industry, but they’re not the only demographic buying RVs, Bowersox said.
“RV owners continue to get younger,” he said. “It used to be a retiree pastime. Now it’s a family with a couple of kids.”
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association – Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA-RVIC) announced today (Dec. 21) that effective Jan. 1, Mark Bowersox will assume the duties of executive director of the association.
He succeeds Dennis Harney, who is staying on as director of development.
Bowersox has served as director of recreation vehicles for the association for more than six years. During that time he has successfully operated and managed association promotions including all RV shows and Internet promotions for both the recreation vehicle and manufactured housing sides of the association. In addition he has successfully led the lobbying and governmental efforts at the state legislature on a number of issues important to the industry.
Bowersox earned a bachelors degree from Taylor University with a major in public relations and a concentration in communications. He has postgraduate education in public administration and nonprofit management through both Indiana University and the Indiana Society of Association Executives.
Prior to joining IMHA-RVIC Bowersox worked as an executive director and marketing director with Helm and Associates, an association management firm, and as executive director of the National Appliance Service Association.
IMHA-RVIC President Rich Agan said, “We are fortunate to have such a qualified individual who possesses the skills and talents we need to lead our association into the future. I am particularly pleased that we could promote someone from within our organization who is already familiar with the opportunities and challenges of our industries. I know Mark has the energy, talent and knowledge to lead our association into the future and to the next level”.
The Indiana Manufactured Housing Association – Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council was formed more than 60 years ago and exists to promote, protect and educate the manufactured housing and recreation vehicle industries and the association’s nearly 500 member companies.
The decision on whether the 55th annual Midwest RV Super Show and Rally will take place remains up in the air.
Reports of its cancellation were incorrect, said Mark Bowersox, director of the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, according to The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
“It was postponed,” he said. The show is currently slated for Sept. 17-20 at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Bowersox said. The RVIC board of governors will decide if the show will go on.
“Right now what we are doing is playing for time,” Bowersox said. “There are certain industry and economic indicators we are looking at that need to improve between now and then for that show to happen.” But some of those factors are already improving, Bowersox said.
“The industry is rebounding in the lightweight and towable markets,” he said. “The stock market, the growth of the last week or 10 days not withstanding, is starting to come back from where it was last year. And consumer confidence, we believe, is starting to rebound as well.”
Bowersox said a decision will have to be made by mid-August and might be made sooner.
“We want to have the show,” he said. “We think it’s good for that area and the industry, but we need to see growth in those areas.” Two years ago about 7,500 people showed up to look at products from 22 RV retailers that represented 80 different product lines.
Last year retailers and crowd numbers “were off,” Bowersox said.
“And that’s a case of economic factors around the country and their impact on the RV industry,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with the product, per se,” he added.
“We believe it’s a good, reliable product, and at a good price point. The unfortunate part is that it’s part of the overall American economy.
“It’s subject to consumer confidence issues not created by the RV industry.
“Financing issues, the stock market and consumer confidence are what it’s tied to. They are all outside of the RV industry, but have had a tremendous impact on the industry. The RV industry will continue to improve as those factors improve.”
The show always has been held in August in the past, and it draws regionally, Bowersox said, with some people coming from the Southeast and Eastern parts of the United States.
The show is the same show that had been held for decades on the campus at Notre Dame.
Diana Lawson, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said she thought the show drew about 3,000 people a year ago at the fairgrounds.
She is unsure how it would do in September, but thinks it could do OK.
“I think if there is enough lead time to let people know that the event is going to happen, there is an opportunity for it to do the same amount of business as it did last year,” she said. “It will depend on the amount of dealers they get to participate in the show so they have enough product for people to enjoy.”
For 54 years, dealers and manufacturers in Elkhart County, the RV Capital of the World, have gathered their motorhomes and towables in a central location and opened the gates to consumers from the serious buyer to the merely curious.
Whether the Midwest RV Super Show and Rally will happen for the 55th year, however, remains in doubt, according to The Elkhart Truth.
Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC) has canceled the August dates — the time the dealer show has been typically held — but is still considering holding the event in mid-September. Problems with wholesale lending, consumer credit and consumer confidence are dampening the market for recreational vehicle and have put the show in limbo, said Mark Bowersox, director of RVIC.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that the industry has hit bottom and we’re recovering,” he said. But the council will have to determine if the level of growth can sustain a show in the fall.
As an indication of the upheavals in the industry, Michiana RV, the former Coachmen factory store in Elkhart, and DiMartini RV, the former Monaco Coach Corp. sales lot in Wakarusa, have closed since the two dealerships participated in the 2008 Midwest show at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Dealerships that are struggling would probably not be helped by the event, said Gary Miller, owner of Wana RV Center in Shipshewana.
Although sales are made, RV shows usually provide dealers will long-term leads that eventually turn into sales, he said, noting customers have walked into his showroom and bought a unit two years after they attended the Midwest show. Consequently, a dealer worried about next week’s bills will not care about delayed returns.
Hank Schrock, owner of Total Value RV in Elkhart, said having the show is “absolutely important.” Along with bringing people to town who want to buy RVs, the show injects some competition among the local dealers which, Schrock said, is healthy.
Within the next couple of weeks, RVIC hopes to make a decision about having the show in September.
Skipping the event would not tarnish the RV Capital’s image, said Diana Lawson, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, explaining that in today’s economy, consumers are very forgiving. In fact, having a show with few dealers and poor attendance could do more damage.
“If we can’t do at least as well as we did last year, probably the best thing to do is let it rest,” Lawson said. “Then try it when we can do a good job and do the industry proud.”
Recent local RV shows did not unveil new models as they once did but, Bowersox said, the annual event gave the customers the opportunity to see many of the latest RVs side by side from multiple manufacturers without having to drive from one dealership to another.
Since the Midwest show may not happen, Miller and Schrock are planning their own shows to lure customers and spark sales. Miller has targeted Aug. 14 and 15 while Schrock is waiting to see what the Midwest RV Super Show does before solidifying the dates for his Fall Foliage Festival.
“I don’t believe you can sit here and do nothing,” Miller said. “You have to keep moving forward and that’s what I’m doing.”