A saturation of RV dealerships located along East Main Street in Mesa, Ariz., has turned into a mecca of sorts for RV buyers.
According to the Arizona Republic, 15 dealerships are currently generating record sales in the six-mile stretch – one of the nation’s densest concentrations of retailers – offering RV shoppers everything from fold-down campers to half-million-dollar diesel coaches.
“And as soon as one of the dealer’s leaves, another one will be on their tail ready to move in,” said Rob Crist, vice president of Crist and Company, which has been doing business on Main Street for 40 years.
From November 2003 through August 2004, just three of the largest dealerships accounted for $845,000 in sales tax revenue, said Don Ayers, Mesa’s tax and licensing director. Add the remaining 12 and it translates into an increasing revenue stream that totals millions.
“People who can afford these things are not normally worried about the price of fuel,” said Ben Alfonso, a sales rep for All American Coach Store.
Mesa’s large winter resident populace is one of the factors behind booming RV sales.
“A lot of our success has to do with winter visitors,” Crist said. “That’s part of the RV story.
Crist and his competitors also are noticing a younger customer base, thanks in part to the industry’s stepped-up marketing and introduction of custom-built lines for the 21- to 34-year-old age group.
“The demographics have definitely changed and that’s enabled more dealers to survive,” said Kevin Wise, corporate sales manager for Earnhardt RV.
And nothing is broadening the market for the younger set like the “toybox,” said Wise, referring to one of the hottest sectors in the industry, particularly in the Southwest.
This steel-chassis trailer, manufactured in various sizes, features the bedding and comforts of the best-equipped travel models.The accoutrements fold up so you can load the all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles through the rear, fold-down door for a trip to the California dunes.
Following a national trend, Baby Boomers also are fueling sales.
“We also have a lot of successful business owners who like their expensive RVs,” said Mark Nunzio, general manager of Beaudry RV. “I think that the advantage of having an RV here is all of the different RV parks you can come and visit. If you don’t like your neighbors, you can drive away.
“Our overall success is attributable to our wonderful weather and a lot of people who chase the sunshine.”