Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) has announced the launch of a new division that will own and operate recreation-focused consumer shows throughout the United States.
Ehlert Publishing Group Inc., a division of AGI, recently completed the acquisition of three consumer shows, including the Minneapolis RV, Camping and Vacation Show held every February at the Minneapolis, Minn., Convention Center.
Since 2000, AGI has produced the Great North American RV Rally, which drew over 10,000 attendees last year and generated over $20 million in RV unit sales for participating dealers. Ehlert also has produced an annual Snowmobile Show in Syracuse, N.Y., for the past ten years.
“By adding the newly acquired shows to those we produce already, AGI has a substantial springboard for expanding its consumer show business,” said Steve Hedlund, president of Ehlert. “We plan to own and operate recreation-focused shows throughout the U.S., particularly RV, boat and powersports related shows. With all of AGI and Ehlert’s media and marketing products already in these recreation markets, we will be able to aggressively promote the shows and ensure a great experience for our exhibitors.”
AGI hired Tom Gaither as vice president for the new division. Gaither, an 18-year veteran of the RV industry, is a former executive for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and most recently was with Georgie Boy Manufacturing, a division of Coachman Industries Inc. Throughout his career Gaither has worked closely with RV show promoters and their year-round “circuit” of events.
“There are so many ways that AGI can bring value to any RV or other recreation shows it gets behind,” Gaither said. “For example, we will be able to build more show traffic by utilizing AGI’s extensive database to market directly to qualified RV owners who might attend our shows. We also will be able to use our magazines, television programs, club communications and retail promotions to build traffic. It’s a very exciting opportunity.”
AGI will be looking to grow its new consumer show division by acquiring existing shows and starting new shows in locations where there is potential for strong dealer support. AGI also will explore working with various regional dealer associations as promotion partners and show producers.
“Our vision with this new division is to put more product, like RVs and boats, in front of more consumers so they can see, touch and buy,” said Mike Schneider, president and CEO of AGI. “We intend to open new markets and make existing markets even more successful with strong promotion. The result will be more productive events for all show participants.”
AGI is parent to TL Enterprises Inc., which publishes RV Business and RVBUSINESS.com.