March '19

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Distributor Show Coverage 112 • RV PRO • March 2019 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T WELCH, Minn. – With better-than-average weather and no competitive show leading into it, this year's Northern Wholesale Show had a more relaxed feel to it. "This year it was less stress and more relaxed. People were looking forward to coming in," said John Perron, division man- ager for the Lino Lakes, Minn.-based distributor. As a result, Northern Wholesale's first day vendor seminars were better attended, and presenters were fresh and ready to go to talk about new 2019 products and show specials. "Anytime, you can have dealers and vendors connect is gold," Perron said. "Noble RV is just one dealership that had multiple service guys come to the training to learn about new products, so when they come across it, they know it." The show, held Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino, attracts many local dealers who have attended for years, which gives the show a sense of an annual reunion. (This year's show was the 32nd annual event.) Perron said there were a lot of next-generation RV dealership employees at this year's show, including the next generation from CampSite RV in Cresco, Iowa. The family mentality also transferred over to the vendor side, with Harry Allen and his son, Jared, representing Kuma and Rock Tamers, as part of the reformed rep firm Harry Allen & Associates, which existed before Allen joined the supplier side years ago. In addition, Paul Johnson, son of Northern Wholesale employee Steve Johnson, enjoyed his 10th year volunteering at the show (something he started during his college years), spending time helping suppliers with setup. Many suppliers said dealer traffic was good and dealers came ready to purchase. John Hawkins of BAL/Norco gives the dis- tributor high marks for its event. "They are aggressive in their specials with dealers and they provide a climate that is advantageous to doing business," said Hawkins, who has attended the show for 13 straight years. BAL/ Norco was one of many sponsors of the show. This year's show drew 16 new vendors, which is a record. Perron said some of the new vendors worked with Northern Wholesale on the company's marine side of the business, while others were new to the industry. Perron said new vendors came to the show from a variety of different ways, including rep groups, 'Relaxed' Northern Wholesale Show a Success The distributor's January buying event attracted a record number of exhibitors. Educational sessions were well-attended and suppliers say dealers were in a buying mood. By Chris Cieto Jared Allen (left) and dad Harry Allen represented Kuma outdoor furniture at Northern Wholesale as part of the newly reformed rep firm Harry Allen & Associates. Dealers listen in on one of the many well-attended vendor seminars that took place during the Northern show. PHOTOS BY CHRIS CIETO

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