In a high-profile tribute delivered to Elkhart, Ind., and the surrounding communities, Thor Industries Inc. ran a full page ad in Saturday’s (Sept. 24) editions of the South Bend Tribune, The Elkhart Truth and the Goshen News offering a formal thank you for the area’s support in the wake of last week’s Elkhart RV Open House.

Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO, told RVBUSINESS.com the ad — which also conveyed a heartfelt shout out to Thor’s 14,900 employees — provided an avenue to commend the “teamwork and cooperation” involved in the four-day event.

“It was a simple ‘thanks’ for letting us invite our dealers from all over the country,” Martin said. “Open House is a tremendous way to showcase the area’s community and its hospitality while also giving dealers the opportunity to view all the great products.

“If the dealers don’t feel welcome, then the Open House is not going to be a success. But the feedback was very positive — the dealers enjoy coming to the Elkhart area. We even had some road construction to deal with, but the county officials helped us smooth that out. I wanted the ad to be a short, sweet message showing that we appreciated our employees and the community.”

Martin noted that the number of dealers visiting Thor’s expansive display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame was “up substantially from last year, which was a record.”

“It’s really hard to gauge as far as getting exact numbers, but our exhibits were busy throughout the Open House,” Martin offered. “This was the first year that we were open all day Monday, and we had around 1,100 dealers come through.”

“I don’t have an accurate count on the number of orders but I feel that the Thor companies will have positive results,” he added. “All of our companies were very happy with the show and product was received extremely well by dealers. We have seen that, more and more, the Open House is giving dealers the opportunity to help organize inventories for the coming fall and leading into spring shows. We hear over and over again that they are able to see more product, more floorplans.”

In addition, Martin maintained that the Open House also provides a comfortable setting for dealers, particularly after hours.

“Dealers tell us they really like the casual atmosphere,” Martin stated. “They can sit back and relax. Our environment at the Hall of Fame is more like a campground, so it’s really a nice setting. Dealers tell us that this is the right way to do it. And again, we couldn’t put it all together without the tremendous support from the community.”