“There were sold signs all over the place, and I’m not just talking the popups, we’re talking about the big motorhomes, too,” Barbara Pudney, vice president of Paragon Group Inc., told RVBUSINESS.com.
Sponsored by the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) and managed by Paragon, the Boston RV & Camping Expo ran Jan. 17-19 attracting around 13,500 attendees to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. In addition, around 2,000 kids under 12 who were admitted free passed through the gates.
“That tells me we had families at the show,” Pudney said, adding that the first day of the show set a record with more than 7,000 attendees. “I know it’s anecdotal, but I did talk to one couple who had an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old with them. They rented an RV last year and went to Nova Scotia, which cost them about $1,000. They told me if they had bought plane tickets and stayed in a hotel, they couldn’t have afford it. They realized then RVing was how they wanted to spend their holidays, so they were at the show looking to invest in their first RV.”
Winnebago District Sales Manager Duane Cyrus told RVBUSINESS.com that dealers representing the company’s products enjoyed “outstanding traffic.”
“Dealers reported positive consumer interactions,” Cyrus said. “Folks are buying across all product categories. There was a great deal of interest at the show in the new Brave 26A, which was on display for the first time. Arlington RV commented that it’s the most photographed show unit they have ever displayed.”
“If we would have charged people $1 for every photo they took, we would have made 20 grand,” joked Jay Moran, general manager of Arlington RV Supercenter, which carries a wide variety of motorized and towable units in its East Greenwich, R.I., location.
Moran, who is the third generation owner at the 65-year-old dealership – his grandparents Shirley and Jack Moran founded the business, which was later run by his father Steve Moran – said the crowds were not only plentiful, but in a buying mood.
“Normally you get a lot of people saying they’ll buy an RV in 10 years when they retire, and they were only at the show doing their homework. At this show they were buying,” he said. “We got some great leads that’ll keep us busy.”
Other dealers included: Bradford RV Center in Brockton and Raynham, Mass.; Campers Inn, with four New England locations among its 11 total on the East Coast; Camping USA Inc. in East Bridgewater, Mass.; Camping World of Berkley, Mass.; Cold Springs RV Center in Weare, N.H.; Diamond RV Centre in West Hatfield, Mass.; Dufour’s RV Center in Fitchburg, Mass.; Flagg RV in Uxbridge and West Boylston, Mass.; Forrest Marine & RV Center in Tyngsboro, Mass.; Hi-Way Campers Inc. in Plainfield, Conn.; Long View RV Superstores in Windsor Locks, Conn.; Macdonald’s RV Center Inc. in Plainville, Mass.; Mann’s RV in Rutland, Mass.; Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, Vt. and Schererville, Ind.; Prime Motor Cars in Scarborough, Maine; Rousseau’s RV Center in Lakeville, Mass.; and Seacoast RV in Saco, Maine.