Dave Helgeson, of the MHRV Show Association and the RV show’s director, said this was the best attendance they’ve had since the event moved to the CenturyLink Field Event Center in 2000.
“We haven’t talked to every dealer, but those we did talk to all said it was a good show for them,” Helgeson said, adding that it “sounds like across the board everything did solid, from the popups to the Class A motorhomes.”
Helgeson also taught a daily seminar on boondocking, and before each class he asked people to raise their hands if they currently owned an RV. He said generally only a third to as many as half the attendees raised their hands, an indication that most people were at the show looking to buy their first RV.
Scott Twomey, general manager of the Kent location of Poulsbo RV, said that sales exceeded expectations, which indicates 2015 will be another strong year for the dealership.
“We were excited at the amount of people who came,” Twomey said. “Last year we probably had a little more than half of that attendance, but there were contributing factors to that. We had snow last year, plus a hangover of sorts from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl parade.”
Poulsbo RV, a full-line dealership with four other Washington locations in Fife, Auburn, Mt. Vernon and Everett, was recently named as a 2014 RVBusiness Top 50 dealer.
Twomey added that the Seattle show, much like the Tacoma RV show in January, featured a lot of young families, along with middle-aged couples, Baby Boomers and retirees.
“We saw strollers, we saw toddlers, we saw a lot of youngsters with mom and dad,” Twomey said. “For us that’s exciting. That tells us that people just getting in their careers have the discretionary income to purchase an RV. The price of gas probably has something to do with it, but I also think people are probably looking at their portfolios, and that makes people feel better about buying an RV.”
Chris Coley, sales consultant at Sunset RV, reported that attendance was up and so were sales. Sunset RV a full-line dealership with locations in Fife and Bonney Lake.
He didn’t notice as many younger buyers as in years past, but he said there still was a pretty good mix of people. Most were buying fifth-wheels and motorhomes, especially the new 26-foot Fleetwood Flair. “Everybody was real excited about it,” he said.
“Out here in the Northwest, so far – knock on wood – we’ve had a pretty mild winter. The days are getting longer so we think it’s going to be an early and long season,” Coley said. “We have a number of other shows scheduled. At Sunset RV, we’re poised for a big summer.”
Kevin Atkinson, the West Coast diesel representative for Thor Motor Coach, said it was a good show with steady traffic.
“On the Thursday, we had a little spurt of customers walk through. Every single one of them fell in love with an RV, but they weren’t ready to buy,” said Atkinson, a 30-year veteran of the RV industry. “A lot of them said they were retiring soon, in six months or in a year, and they were gathering information to buy their dream coach. So I was providing a little bit of ‘RV 101’ with people.”
He noted that he hadn’t heard of any diesel pushers sold by any manufacturer during the show, but several gas motorhomes were purchased – not unexpected given the lower gas prices.
Other Washington dealers at the show included: Apache Camping Center Inc. in Everett, Baydo’s RV Center in Fife; Blade Chevrolet & RV Center in Mt. Vernon; Clearview RV Inc. in Snohomish; DeTray’s Custom Housing in Puyallup; Fife RV & Auto in Fife; Fifth Wheel Place in Everett; Five STAR RV in Everett; Open Road RV LLC in Monroe; Paul Evert’s RV Country in Fife; Roy Robinson RV in Marysville; Seattle RV Center in Everett; Speedway Chevrolet and RV Center in Monroe; Sumner RV Center in Sumner; Tacoma RV Center in Fife; and Valley RV Supercenter in Kent. Purple Line USA in Dublin, Calif., was another dealer at the Great Seattle RV Show.