If business at The RV Center in Columbia City, Ind., is any indication, this year’s Fort Wayne RV and Camping Show should be successful for dealers and consumers, the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel reported.
Why, you ask?
“Consumer confidence,” says Ron Sleeper, owner of The RV Center. “People are feeling a little bit more comfortable.”
Sales dropped in 2008 and 2009, but Sleeper saw an increase in 2010 and he expects another increase in sales this year. He expects over the next two to three years to get back to 2007 sales.
“There’s a lot of positive indicators out there,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of attention paid to our industry (such as) when the president of the United States goes to Elkhart, Ind., to show his support in the RV industry.”
The RV Center will be one of the vendors at the Fort Wayne RV and Camping Show which opens Thursday (Feb. 3) and runs through Sunday at the Memorial Coliseum.
Sleeper’s company sells everything from popup campers costing $5,500 to $12,000 to motor homes ranging from $50,000 to $110,000. In between, travel trailers range from $12,000 to $35,000. Park models sell from $20,000 to $60,000. They’re big enough they have to be delivered by a commercial carrier to their destination.
Higher gas prices have impacted people’s RV choices, Sleeper said, with some choosing smaller models. Manufacturers have responded to the desire for more fuel-efficient products by “basically building smaller units, yet trying to give them all the amenities.”
Many now come with LCD televisions, comfy recliners, improved water filtration systems and slide-outs for added living space. Many manufacturers are going to aluminum construction for longevity instead of wood.
Manufacturers also are emphasizing green building by using more composite components and modifying design.
Sleeper believes people are camping closer to home, perhaps because of gas prices. Those who invest in a park model only have to drive their car to their destination — no costly RV towing.
He likes taking his motorhome up to the Angola area or to Turkey Run State Park in the western part of the state.
Although the initial outlay in money is salty, Sleeper believes any RV is a good investment.
“I’ve always challenged everybody, once you make the initial purchase of an RV, it is the least expensive thing, in my opinion, you can do with your family to enjoy a weekend.