While Saturday’s (Feb. 21) snowstorm might have reduced the customer flow into the 50th Anniversary Maryland RV Show, Greg Merkel didn’t seem too worried. The owner of one of the region’s largest dealerships, Merkel stood on the vast floor of a show he’s attended for 43 years and declared the RV-and-motor home business alive and well.
“I looked at sales from August to December, and they were up 20% over the same period last year,” said Merkel, owner of Leo’s Vacation Center, the company his father started with campers and truck caps on the front lawn of his home on Crain Highway in Gambrills in 1972. “And this year is off to a good start.”
According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association believes lower gasoline prices have contributed to the increase in sales.
But a lot of the customers at State Fairgrounds in Timonium were repeat customers — people devoted to taking their RVs and campers on the road.
Tom and Glenna Wolking, of Anne Arundel County, ordered a 34-foot Keystone Outback, trading up from a smaller model they purchased five years ago from Merkel.
“Long weekends, time with the family and camaraderie,” Tom Wolking said, citing reasons why he and his wife enjoy the recreational vehicle life.
“We have four children and four grandchildren,” said Glenna Wolking, “and this is how we spend our time together — camping, visiting state parks.”
The Wolkings wanted the larger model Outback for more sleeping room and privacy.
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