For a weekend, the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., became a one-stop shop for the toys people could have written a check for on-site a few years ago because their home’s equity would support the purchase.
RVs, boats and spas were all on display at Summer Fest through Sunday — an anti-recessionary effort by the Fairplex to combine events into one weekend for one admission price, $10, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Glen Page, with Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), organizer of the RV portion, had used 400,000 square feet for 20 dealers in the past.
Before it was postponed from April to this past weekend, his RV-only show had 10 dealers sign up. For Summer Fest, he had seven. One dealer went out of business in the few months between. Page was confident, though, that there would be buyers at the show.
Dealers who parked their inventory — new, used and bank repossessions — at the Fairplex for the weekend included Giant RV, Vacation Station RV, Banning RV, Galaxy Campers, Custom RV Inc. and Richardson’s RV.
Rick Jacobsen, a general manager with Richardson’s RV Center Inc. — a dealership with locations in Riverside, Temecula and Sun City — said the goal at the show this year wasn’t necessarily to sell any RVs and trailers.
“We want everyone to know that we’re still alive and well,” he said.
Jacobsen said Richardson’s has fared better than most since it mainly sells vehicles made by Jayco Inc. which, unlike Riverside-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. or Monaco Coach Corp. or other manufacturers, hasn’t filed for bankruptcy. The dealer has hired back some employees it laid off and scaled back inventory as the industry’s future began to look dire.
But the extra scrutiny banks have had when looking at customers’ credit scores hasn’t helped, he said. A person with a better than average credit score of 700 has trouble buying an RV these days, he said.
Suzanne Stewart, 31, got a taste of the RV life when she borrowed her father’s trailer for a month’s vacation with her family. On Friday, she pushed a stroller with her 3-year-old daughter, Zoey, while her husband, Chad, and son Alex, 4, jumped into trailers on display. She expects to pay about $40,000 for a trailer.
“He wants fancy,” Stewart said of Chad.
But after seeing the prices of some of the RVs with ample room, flat-screen television sets and more, Stewart knows one thing about her future trailer: It’ll be used.
AGI is the parent company of RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com.