So you can understand why organizers of the Springfield RV, Camping & Outdoor Show said attendance was better than they expected — especially when considering they were hit with a Saturday night snowstorm. The event ran Feb. 13-16 at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Mass.
The show, produced by Pioneer Valley Chapter 8 (PV8) of the North American Family Campers Association (NAFCA), still brought in an estimated 27,000 people, said Sherrie Vilbon, who with her husband, Kevin, served as co-chairs. That’s still down from the 34,000 average, but all things considered, “it was still a good showing.”
“It went great and from what I hear from the dealers it went great for them, too. We had a little bit of snow we had to deal with, but that didn’t seem to keep people from coming out,” Sherrie Vilbon said. “At one point someone said we should go look outside, and just about every vehicle in the parking lot was a truck with a snowplow.”
New Hampshire-based Campers Inn, a privately-owned dealership and 2014 RVBusiness Top 50 recipient, had four of its 10 East Coast locations represented at the show. Regional Sales Director Ted Gulezian said dealer personnel had to “work a little harder” at the Springfield show.
“Traffic was good on Saturday, but I know it was down substantially – probably due to the weather,” Gulezian said.
Ken Riley, vice president of Hi-Way Campers, a towable dealership for more than 40 years in Plainfield, Conn., said their dealership did “all right. Not terrific, not terrible, but pretty good.”
“Traffic on Friday night was pretty good. Saturday was real good; that’s when the buyers were out. Sunday started slow because of the (Saturday night) snow, but it picked up by the afternoon. I guess everyobody was done shoveling by then. And Monday was a typical Monday,” Riley said.
Among its towables on display was a Whitewater retro unit by Riverside RV. “That always draws a crowd no matter where we put it in our display. And we wrote up three of them,” Riley said, adding the Sierra 371 REBH, a fifth-wheel bunkhouse from Forest River Inc., also was popular.
Brigitte Flagg, operations manager of Flagg RV Center, a family-owned dealership with locations in West Boylston and Uxbridge, said even though the weather was bad, foot traffic was steady.
“Yeah, the weather’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do?” she said, saying sales were about average. “We sold mostly travel trailers and fifth-wheels. Some motorhome action, but not too much.”
She thought many of the attendees were new to RVing based on their questions, but added there were a lot of people who had no intention of buying an RV. “There’s no urgency to buy at the show anymore,” she said. “But, we did make a lot of leads and we did offer a lot of trade values.”
A member of the Priority RV Network, Flagg RV Center will be displaying at the Worcester RV & Camping Show in Worcester, Mass., this weekend, and is hosting its open house the following weekend.
“Hopefully we’ll see some good business here in the next few weeks,” Flagg said.
Other dealers at the show included: All RV in East Hampton, Conn.; Crowley R.V. Sales in Bristol, Conn.; Custom Camper, Inc. in Southington, Conn.; Diamond RV Centre in West Hatfield, Mass; East End Campers in Southold, N.Y.; Gustine’s R.V. Sales in East Hampton, Conn.; Hemlock Hill R.V. Sales in Milldale, Conn.; Lee’s Auto & RV Ranch in Ellington, Conn.; Longview RV Super Stores in Windsor Locks, Conn; Manns Trailer Sales in Rutland, Mass.; MCD Corp. in West Yarmouth, Mass.; Orchard Trailers in Whately, Mass.; Pete’s RV in South Burlington, Vt.; Redman’s Trailer Sales in Bristol, Conn.; Seacoast RV Superstore in Saco, Maine; South Shore Tent Trailers in Middleborough, Mass.; Tim’s RV in Erving, Mass.; Travel Town Trailers in Southwick, Mass.; Truck Camper Warehouse in West Chesterfield, N.H.; Van’s RV Center in South Windsor, Conn.; and Vermont Country Camper in East Montpelier, Vt.,