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.