If the first of three RV shows hosted by the North Carolina RV Dealers Association (NCRVDA) is any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be a banner year in the Tar Heel State. Attendance was up 36% over last year at the NCRVDA Show in Greensboro, held Jan. 2-4 in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
The NCRVDA is also hosting hows Jan. 23-25 at the Park Expo and Conference Center in Charlotte and Feb. 20-22 at North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
“We were really pleasantly surprised,” said Jeff Haughton, NCRVDA’s director of events and sponsorships. “We noticed a large increase in families, and that was probably partially due to the fact we opened on a Friday during the holidays, when kids were still out of school and could come to the show with their parents.”
One of the RV dealers at the show was Out-Of-Doors Mart in Colfax, N.C., which carries towables from Airstream Inc. along with Forest River Inc.’s Rockwood and Salem brands. Joel Kilby, partner and corporate secretary for the dealership, said the company enjoyed good business across all product lines.
“We did well,” he said, adding buyers were from all age demographics. “Attendance was up and part of the reason is because this year the state association’s show was the only one in town. For the last six or seven years we also had a Good Sam show going on at the same time and I think the public was sort of confused.”
Steve Plemmons, owner of Bill Plemmons RV World in Winston-Salem and Raleigh, said there was some concern among dealers that the show might be negatively affected being so close to the holidays. In fact, show setup was on New Year’s Day, but Plemmons said everyone worked together and was ready for the opening.
“My gut feeling, and I’m happy to say my gut was right, is people were ready to get out of the house and RVers were ready to get back to looking at some RVs,” he said, describing the overall mood of everyone as “happy in an RV show kind of way.”
Like other shows, Plemmons said people were drawn to RVs with new floorplans and other innovations. One unit in particular was the Coachmen Chaparrel 3800SIBH fifth-wheel, a rear bunkhouse model which featured a pair of bunks – one in a slide unit – that could become a “kids’ escape” simply by closing a door.
The dealership, which is celebrating its 64th anniversary, sells a wide variety of towable and motorized RVs from manufacturers such as Coachmen RV, Entegra Coach, Forest River, Grand Design RV Co., Jayco Inc., Keystone RV Co., K.Z. RV Inc., Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., Palomino and Winnebago Industries Inc.
“Our accessories were down a bit, but that’s probably due to everyone buying a lot of Christmas gifts. But a lot of people were buying RVs, and they were financing their purchase,” Plemmons said, noting high-end fifth-wheels did especially well at the show. “Could the show have been better? Yes, it always could be better. Could it have been worse? Oh yes, it could have been much, much worse. Overall, it was a good show for us.”
Other dealers included Americamp RV of Franklinville, Bumgarner Camping Center of Lenoir, Campers Inn of Mocksville, Country Roads RV Center of Lexington, Tom Johnson Camping Center of Marion and Concord, Sonny’s Camp-N-Travel of Concord and Terrell Camping Center of Terrell.