Brisk Business Reported Despite Rain at Tampa SuperShow – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News

TAMPA, Fla. – While Thursday’s weather was far from spectacular during the Florida RV SuperShow, representatives of RV manufacturers reported engaged consumers, solid traffic and energetic sales.

“Honestly, I’ve been doing this show now for 17 years and this is my fifth year here with Travel Lite. It’s been a phenomenal display. Traffic has been amazing,” said Ryan Rebar, CEO of Syracuse, Ind.-based Travel Lite RV (TLRV). “The amount of truck camper business that I’ve seen here is better than any time I’ve ever been at this show.”

He added travel trailer business also was lively. “The customers are here buying. It’s really nice. I’m actually really excited about this show,” he said. TLRV was showcasing its all-new Rove XL, a 96-inch-wide model added to its popular Rove lineup that also offers an additional 6 inches of headroom.

Seated from left, Bob Zagami of the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA), Ron Fenech of Brinkley RV, NERVDA’s John DiPietro and Brinkley’s Bill Fenech.

Organized and sponsored by the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), the event – featuring 400 supplier booths, 30 dealers, more than 100 displays and 1,400 RVs of all shapes and sizes – attracted 18,111 consumers on Wednesday’s opening day, which is just shy of last year’s record. Running through Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, the “Tampa Show” is often seen as a barometer by many as to how well the RV industry might fare in the comping year.

On Thursday, temperatures hovered around 60 degrees at the show grounds east of Tampa on I-4, with intermittent light rain and wind throughout the day.

Even so, consumers were shoulder-to-shoulder in the display occupied by Goshen, Ind.-based Brinkley RV. Three of the company’s founders – Bill Fennech, Nate Goldenberg and Ryan Thwaits – were helping staff the booth and noted they, too, were doing a brisk business.

On display at Brinkley was the company’s first foray into the travel trailer segment, the Model Z Air.

At the Tiffin Motorhomes display, a long line of people waited to have a look inside the all-new Bob Tiffin Limited Edition Class A diesel pusher. Tiffin, age 82, founded the legendary Red Bay, Ala.-based motorhome builder in 1972.

Appropriately, 82 of the BTLE numbered coaches will be produced, all sporting features that are near and dear to the company founder.

REV Group Marketing Manager Don Gephart at the wheel of an all new Fleetwood Xcursion.

REV Group Marketing Manager Don Gephart also reported good traffic at the Fleetwood display, where the all-new Class B Xcursion was on display. (A sister-branded Holiday Rambler Xpedition also is available.)

Built on four versions of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the new vans, “gives Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler the opportunity to allow RVers who like the B van life to step into two of the most long-standing and iconic brands in the industry,” Gephart said.

FRVTA Executive Director Dave Kelly said attendance on Thursday was 15,915, down a bit from last year’s 16,156 – a mere 1.5%.

But Kelly was quick to confirm the sentiment of those running the displays, saying, “Great business is being done!”

In a press release today, Kelly said the show opened to “huge crowds waiting at the gates. While the first day was a little down from last year’s first day, the exhibitors were doing very well. We had some things working against us with the weather being wet and cold, but we still had a big opening day,” he added. “We are expecting dry and cold weather for the weekend, so I think we will make up a lot of the attendance.” 

Dave Kelly

A good gauge of the crowd is the attendance in the seminars, which featured live closed captioning to help attendees understand the speakers, the release stated. A lot of new topics and speakers kept the room full the entire day.

“General RV set up a parts-and-accessories store that would rival any store you’d find in a dealership,” Kelly added. “Everything from washers and dryers to air conditioners were on display — and they even had golf carts running to help people get their purchases to their vehicles.”

Booth exhibitors were busy from opening to closing and many reported strong sales unlike any other year.

“With so many new RVers, they all are in need of parts and accessories, and they came to buy,” Kelly said.

The Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds gave out hundreds of its new campground directories.  “So many people are first timers that they are hungry for information about Florida campgrounds,”  stated Jennifer Chrysan Johnson of FARVC.

“We really appreciate the support of all the RV manufacturers and suppliers. With this being the 39th year of the SuperShow we are planning a huge celebration for the 40th next year,” Kelly said.

The show continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m today and Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.