HERSHEY, Penn. – Keller Marine and RV’s annual dealer show wrapped up in late November, highlighted by solid attendance and what company officials describe as an optimistic mood. Held at the Hershey Convention Center, approximately 300 retailers participated in the two-day event.
The Port Trevorton, Penn. family-owned company serves approximately 2,000 independent RV and marine dealerships on the East Coast with warehouses in Pennsylvania and Florida.
“Attendance was good, and there were fewer no-shows than in prior years. Overall, the mood was cautiously optimistic, especially considering everything happening around them,” said Keller Marketing Director Lori Morrow, referring to what dealers see as an uncertain economy and slower new RV sales.
While Keller’s physical show ended on Nov. 21, and the virtual show ran through Nov. 30, dealers have until Dec. 22 to continue to book orders. Morrow estimates that show sales will come in at about even with that from 2022, – something with which she is happy.
Maintenance and DIY products were the top sellers at the show, said Morrow, adding that. “Although consumers are not buying as many new RVs as they did a few years ago, they are upgrading and fixing the RV they have now.”
In addition to her marketing role, Morrow serves as secretary/treasurer of the company, with her brother, Mike Keller, as president. The company, founded in 1958 by their parents, George and Margaret Keller, has emphasized one-on-one relationships since Day One.
“As a family-owned distributorship, it is important for our customers to know they can reach someone who will take care of them when they call us,” explained Morrow. “Technology is something we need for efficiency, but if our customers want help, we make sure they can speak to the person who can help solve their problem. Business will always be done between people.”
Morrow noted that the Hershey venue was a plus: “I think I had more time to talk to customers this year than in the past. What brings Mike and me joy is sitting with customers and vendors to understand their needs. The logistics and the staff at the convention center made it easy for us to do that,” she said.
One of the highlights of this year’s show was the opening night party with video horseraces. Guests could bet on the ponies and win prizes like Apple watches, earbuds and noise-canceling headphones.