The estimated 4,000 North American dealer personnel expected to attend the 2019 Elkhart RV Open House, slated for Sept. 23-26 in northern Indiana’s RV-building hub of Elkhart County, will likely see more than a few new twists at the continent’s largest wholesale RV-buying show.
Along with a host of new supplier exhibitors, upgraded facilities, relocated OEM displays and a wave of new 2020 models, attendees will also encounter the first-ever “Wells Fargo Shuttle,” a free shuttle bus service sponsored by Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance’s RV Group to help Open House attendees navigate the sprawling 12-year-old show that has consistently gained ground in terms of attendance and sales.
Plans call for the 26-passenger buses to stop at about 10-minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday during Open House week at key stops along County Road 6 and Executive Parkway on Elkhart’s northeast side, according to Wells Fargo spokesmen.
“It fits in with the ongoing evolution of the show,” said Tim Hyland, president of Wells Fargo CDF, a key wholesale lender who’s looking for a pretty strong show this year in terms of sales and attendance. “Navigating this event, like navigating the ups and downs of the industry, takes partners. And at Wells Fargo, we’re glad to do our part through this sponsorship.
“There’s going to be four shuttle buses, and they’re going to be working throughout the Open House area to move people from place to place,” he added. “Three of those will be regular shuttle buses. One will actually be a mobility van that can help people with special needs.”
Marked bus stops are to be located near:
- The east end of Executive Parkway near the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Thor Industries Inc.’s divisional exhibits.
- Executive Parkway’s T-intersection at County Road 17 in close proximity to several exhibitors, i.e. Grand Design and REV Group.
- Newmar Corp.’s exhibit to the west, again located on the north side of C.R. #6 after a year’s absence.
- Forest River Inc.’s relocated Open House headquarters at the company’s new “East to West” facilities on C.R. #6, the most westerly point on the shuttle bus circuit.
- The Elkhart Municipal Airport where a number of exhibitors, including some suppliers, are scheduled to set up shop for the first time this year.
- Winnebago Industries Inc.’s home base at the Center Six One Five reception hall on the south side of CR 6..
“Our hope is that we can help move people efficiently through the entire event as they look to make their way around the activities,” said Hyland, adding that he sees the industry continuing to turn a corner in terms of inventory issues during the Open House.
“I think attendance will be good as dealers have been working very hard to get through this inventory bubble that they’ve had,” Hyland told RVBUSINESS.com. “And I think most of them are working to get through their aged products so they can come to the Open House and look to refresh their inventory.
“So, while retail is off from prior years, it’s actually not bad relative to historical standards,” stated Hyland. “So, there’s still an opportunity to do well in this market, and I think dealers are doing their best to take advantage of that.”