Despite the recession, people still need their recreation.
That’s why Lakewood, Colo.-based Windish RV Center sees a golden opportunity in its new Del Camino location, according to the Longmont Daily Times-Call.
“The whole northern Colorado market is a great market,” said Jim Humble, Windish general manager. “There’s a lot of RVs sold up here. There’s a lot of people that like to go camping up here but don’t want to drive to Denver.”
While sales of towable recreational vehicles and motorhomes were down nationwide in 2008, according to the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVIA), Windish’s sales, based on total units sold, are increasing, according to Humble.
So far this year, sales are up 10% compared to the same period last year, and up 25% compared with 2007, he said.
“And those two years were both better economic times than it is today,” he said.
Windish, a 17-year-old family-founded dealership, is leasing three acres that formerly housed another RV dealership until it closed last year.
Humble said he is able to offer a diverse product selection at the new location, but he has noticed a definite trend in the industry the past couple of years away from large motorhomes.
“The market right now is trailers and fifth-wheels. That’s where the market’s really going,” Humble said.
The design of trailers has also improved so they feature more living space than they have in the past, he said. And given the tight economy, RVs are a more affordable way to vacation than, say, a family trip for four to Disney World, he said.
“For $250 a month, it’s not a huge investment,” Humble said.
Getting financing is the biggest challenge for most buyers today, Humble said.
“The banks want to see the customer put some money down, usually 10%,” Humble said. “It has gotten tighter, no question.”
Rod Andersen, regional vice president for Camping World, of which K&C RV Centers, another local RV dealership, is an affiliate, said he agrees with Humble on that statement.
K&C, which is just a few miles north of Windish, said sales so far in 2009 are flat compared with 2008 because of the difficulty of getting financing.
“If we didn’t have the financing woes that we have this year compared to last, we’d be ahead,” Andersen said.
He welcomes another RV dealer to the area, he said, because the more dealers there are the more customers will be able to shop around.
“There’s always been different businesses up here, so no problem,” he said. “As far as someone else coming up north, it’s probably good for us because it’ll drive more people up from Denver.”