November '19

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50 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com ELKHART H istorically, Open House Week has always been about one thing: Dealers placing orders with manufacturers. Suppliers and other vendors tried to respect that. "We didn't want to be a distraction," said Bobby Raatz, director of sales for Southwire, summing up the feeling of many suppliers. "The whole purpose of the open house is to sell RVs. If that doesn't happen, it affects everyone." However, in recent years, suppliers have worked to strike a balance between their desire to give dealers an opportunity to preview their latest products while also being mindful of the founding purpose of Open House Week. Those efforts found added momentum three years ago when Randall Jeremiah, founder of the RV Supplier and Vendor Expo (RSVE), provided a venue for suppliers and vendors at the show. "It's a grassroots thing," he said. "We are slowly trying to build a presence here." His efforts seem to be paying off. "We had eight booths here three years ago. This year we had 74, and we had four OEMs join. Next year, we'd love to add an event for small RV manufacturers, which are under-represented at the Open House." This year, the RSVE increased signage, brought in food trucks for lunch, and added a more brightly lit, larger and better ventilated tent to address feedback from the previous year. And Open House Supplier O P E N H O U S E C O V E R A G E Events Gain Ground RV Supplier and Vendor Expo founder Randall Jeremiah welcomes dealers to his company's big tent exhibit at the Elkhart Municipal Airport. Suppliers and vendors stepped up their presence this year to showcase their wares, including many new products, at large exhibits at the Hall of Fame and at the Elkhart Municipal Airport. By Ronnie Wendt

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