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Affinity Group Inc.’s (AGI) inaugural Pomona (Calif.) RV Show in mid-April drew 10,237 consumers – twice as many as organizers anticipated.
“I would have expected just half that crowd, given that this was the first show,” said Tom Gaither, senior vice president of AGI’s new events division.
Thirteen California RV dealers displayed more than 300 RVs in 150,000 square feet of space during the retail show April 20-23 at the Pomona Fairplex. And Gaither reported that sales were strong. “The dealers didn’t expect that much attendance,” he said. “They were elated.”
The startup-up weekend show featured a 70-booth, 50,000-square-foot expo with seminars on RV-related subjects in addition to videos of AGI’s RVtoday RV lifestyle television program aired weekly on the Outdoor Life Network.
Gaither attributed the high attendance to the use of AGI’s Traffic Builder database on which organizers relied to mail and e-mail consumers two-for-one coupons to attend the show which had an $8 per-person admission.
“This show was a prototype of what’s to come,” Gaither said. “We just proved that our Traffic Builder database will definitely improve attendance at our shows.”
The Fairplex is the site of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) annual retail  show and remains a fairly popular venue for other industry events, including April’s Family Motor Coach Association’s convention.
“The Fairplex is known as a selling venue, whether it’s for computer shows or crafts shows or RV shows,” Gaither said. “People know they can get a good deal there.”
The Pomona event was the second staged from scratch by the AGI division, formed in January 2005 to create a national network of integrated retail showcases. Since then, AGI has purchased 23 existing RV, marine, garden, home, golf and winter powersports shows in such locations as Minneapolis, Minn., Las Vegas, Nev., and the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia, among others.
“We are looking for 150 to 200 shows annually within the next five years managed out of five or six regional offices,” said Gaither, adding that most of the shows will be acquired. “It’s a lot harder to start up a show than it is to buy one.”
AGI organized its first show – the Minneapolis RV and Boat Clearance Sale – last September at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Minneapolis.
AGI is the parent company of TL Enterprises Inc., publisher of RV Business.