Some 228 dealers are registered for NTP Distribution’s Annual Conference Feb. 17-20 at the Austin (Texas) Convention Center where about 200 vendors plan to display aftermarket products and services.
“Attendance will be roughly the same as it was last year,” said Mark Jenson, vice president of sales and marketing, for the Wilsonville, Ore., company. “We will be down a little bit.”
Jenson said that while fewer West Coast dealers have registered, a new warehouse in Dallas that opened in April has increased NTP’s penetration in the South. “We will have increased dealer attendance from the South area, particularly, so it’s balanced out a little bit,” he said. “We’ve really done some outreach to get people there who have never been to one of our conferences before.”
The conference will open Tuesday (Feb. 17) with vendor workshops, merchandise demonstrations and training. A dinner and welcome reception that evening will highlight some of the successes that dealers partnering with NTP had in 2008.
Wednesday and Thursday will feature an open show floor from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The closing dinner Thursday night dinner will be a Texas-style barbecue at a nearby Hilton.
Jensen reported that NTP will stress during the conference that even though RV sales are down, evidence is that RV owners are continuing to use their rigs and that dealers need to be ready with repair parts and accessories.
“Many dealers are being very cautious,” he said. “They don’t really know what this year is going to do. And after the experience of ’08, their buying has dropped to a minimum. We tell them to watch their inventories, but that they need to buy what they are going to need now.”