Tue Feb 26, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Dealers exhibiting at the recent Springfield RV and Camping Show in Springfield, Mass., say sales were stellar at the 57th annual show, giving them encouragement for 2019. The show, billed by organizers as New England’s largest RV show, attracted about 43,000 visitors and 27 RV dealers to the Eastern States Exposition. The show is produced by volunteers from the local chapter of the North American Family Campers Association.
“We consider it very successful,” show co-chair Alicia Lyon says. “We had good feedback from a lot of dealers.”
One of the dealers logging strong sales was Tim Christensen, owner of Tim’s RV in Erving, Mass. This is the only show of the year for Christensen, who brought four different product lines to Springfield.
“The attitude of consumers was positive,” Christensen says. “We sold at least 10 units at the show and that’s more than we normally sell. Sales are up in general, but I don’t know how long it will last.”
Christensen says prior to the show, he was hesitant to assess the prospects for the rest of 2019, but the strong Springfield showing gives him optimism.
Chris Andro, general manager and partner at Hemlock Hill RV in Southington, Conn., says for his dealership sales were about on par relative to past years for Springfield. He says he sold units each day of the show, but Sunday was especially strong.
“We really get a lot of business after the show,” Andro says. “I look at shows as running from Friday to the following Sunday, a 10-11-day period, where we continue with an open house. Our after-show sales are up about 10 percent. I have seven full-time sales staff at the show and with everyone there, we still can’t talk to everybody, so we tell them to come on down to our lot so they can experience our brand that way.
One difference this year at Springfield, Andro says, was the aggressive pricing among dealers. He says the show was the most price competitive he has seen. He attributes it to the inventory glut many dealers are working through to deal with the excess production of 2017-2018.
Diamond RV Center in West Hatfield, Mass., which is about 25 miles north of Springfield, is one of the closest dealerships to the show. Bob LaFreniere, sales manager, says proximity helps. Like Hemlock Hill RV, Diamond RV Center also follows up with an open house sale.
“The show is right in our backyard and we know everyone there and they know us,” LaFreniere says. “It’s the best show we’ve had in a long time and a lot of business carried over to our open house.”
Diamond RV brought 26 units to Springfield and “sold in the high 30s,” LaFreniere says.
“People are happy and they are buying,” he says.