November '19

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ELKHART BRISTOL rv-pro.com November 2019 • RV PRO • 51 the event changed locations: from near the RV/MH Hall of Fame last year to the Elkhart Municipal Airport, near where Forest River hosted its annual Expo for dealers. Meanwhile, for the first time, the RV/MH Heritage Foun- dation offered suppliers' booths during Open House Week at the Northern Indiana Event Center and RV/MH Hall of Fame. The inaugural show sold out, attracting 104 suppliers to fill 8-foot by 10-foot booths. Exhibitors at both events had plenty of good things to say, even as some said the events needed better signage. PullRite exhibited at the RV/MH supplier show, where $200 giveaways every hour drove dealers to attend. "I hope this expands. I really do," said Scott Later, the com- pany's national sales manager. "Having a major show that brings both sides of the industry together benefits the suppliers, dealers and the industry as a whole." Dometic also had a booth at the Hall of Fame. Laura Petee, director of marketing at Dometic, said, "We were looking for the right oppor- tunity, but we wanted to be respectful of the OEs. This was the perfect way to be represented, but not take away from what the OEs are doing." Hall of Fame President Darryl Searer said he was extremely pleased with how the event turned out. "The first ever supplier show hosted by the RV Hall of Fame was a tremendous success. Every supplier we talked with not only said they had a great show, but said they would be back next year and wanted their same booth!" he said. "We had over 600 dealers and 80 OEMs attend the show. We passed out over $11,000 in cash drawings (in $100 bills) during the show and provided the suppliers with the little details that made them feel like they were in first class. ... We already have plans to make next year even better with our experienced staff. We need the OEMs to send more of their design, purchasing and product managers next year." Meanwhile, Lori Johnson, owner of Johnson Outdoor Dig- ital, had a booth in RSVE's large tent about 7 miles away, where she had great things to say about the event. "This has been a good contact spot for us. We have gotten excellent leads out of this event. Having Forest River right down the road helped a lot," Johnson said. Dealers had the opportunity to make connections with 74 suppliers at this year's RSVE exhibit (pictured above and at the top of page 50). Exhibitors on the whole said the event provided a valuable opportunity to showcase their latest products for dealers. At left: new RV manufacturer L'Air Camper displayed one of its lightweight fiberglass trailers outside of RSVE's tent. PHOTOS BY RONNIE WENDT

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