The cost of gasoline didn’t discourage people from turning out last weekend for the Western New York Boat and RV Show to kick the tires on a new recreational vehicle, according to a report in the Buffalo News.
“The RV business is doing just fine,” said Bob Snyder, the promoter of Saturday’s show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. “Even when gas prices rose back in 2008 it hurt this business a little bit, but not that bad.”
In fact, Snyder was expecting between 50 to 60 RVs to be sold as a result of the Hamburg show, where sticker prices ranged from less than $15,000 to more than $70,000.
Colton RV, one of the six dealerships at the show, said the RV business has been getting better since it took a hit with the economy in 2008. Colton — which has locations in North Tonawanda and Orchard Park — sold 52 RVs back in January during a 10-day show, said Tim Nelligan, sales and finance manager for Colton.
“Since 2008,” Nelligan said, “business has definitely climbed up back to where it should be.”
Many went to the show Saturday just to check out the luxury vehicles, equipped with flat-screen televisions, plush sofas and beds, bathrooms and efficiency kitchens.
John and Heather DeLisle came to the Hamburg show from Welland, Ontario. The couple was checking out RVs for their trip to a weeklong festival in Nevada this year. The RVs are beautiful, John DeLisle said, but they don’t plan on buying.
“We’re probably going to rent one,” he added. “We don’t need something really big.”
David and Kathy Zapiec, of Angola, were a little more serious about buying an RV — at least, after they retire.
“This is more of a first step,” David Zapiec said of Saturday’s visit to the RV show.
“For me,” Kathy Zapiec chimed in, “I’d buy one today. Why wait?”
She’s not interested in flying on planes or worrying about hotel bedbugs. In an RV, she said, the couple could just load up their four dogs and be on their way. And while her husband was thinking about rising gas prices, Kathy Zapiec wasn’t.
“You’re either paying for gas or the price of plane ticket,” Kathy Zapiec said. “Friends of ours just went to Florida for $600 a ticket.”
Bill Geary, meanwhile, seemed ready to buy. Geary, of West Seneca, had a camper back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when his kids were younger. Now, he and his wife are retired. They have family in Texas and Louisiana they’d like to visit. Geary wants to travel along the Atlantic Coast.
When you consider the air fare and hotel costs, Geary says, an RV would be more cost-effective.
“If you want to see the country,” said Geary, who was eyeing up one travel trailer in particular, “this is the way to go.”