Checking In With RV Dealers Across the U.S.

As the RV industry recovers from the business disruptions caused by COVID-19, this page will provide updates on RV dealer, campground, and related industry news compiled by RVDA staff.   If your dealership would like to share information, please send an email to

Michigan Dealers Hope to Sustain Strong Recovery

From mid-March until almost of the end of June, Michigan was a coronvirus hot spot with some of the tightest restrictions on business activity. But since the government COVID-19 related restrictions were eased, the demand for RVs came roaring back to the point where RV dealers are worried about getting enough inventory to sustain the recovery.

“It’s a lot better than anyone thought it would be in March and April,” said Greg Sharon of Hilltop RV Superstore, with locations in the Upper Peninsula Michigan communities of Escanaba and Ishpeming. “Now, everyone is having a banner year, but we can’t get the inventory to sustain it. I have 50 units ordered in May and June that haven’t arrived yet.”

“We’re so far North, we don’t have a fourth quarter.  We won’t have much (lot) traffic by the end of September,” Sharon continued. “So, I think the manufacturers will catch up over the winter.”

At Circle K RV in Lapeer, a community located north of Detroit and east of Flint, Mike O’Brien said sales volume was up 22 percent year-to-date despite being prohibited by governor’s orders from conducting normal sales operations for a six-week period in March and April, and the fact springtime retail shows in Flint and Port Huron were canceled.

“But now,” O’Brien said, “our parts business is on fire. People who haven’t used their RV in years have re-discovered their love for RVing and are buying parts so they could go camping.”

“If I order a unit today, it won’t arrive until Oct. 1,” O’Brien added. “Our inventory is one-third of what it typically is this time of year. We’ve pretty much run-out of everything costing $40,000 and under.”

Tim Veurink of Veurink’s RV Center in Grand Rapids agreed, “I’ve never seen anything like it. From April 1st to April 24, we delivered 12 units. From April 24 to June 30, we delivered 250.

“Inventory is much lower than I’d like,” Veurink said. “We peak at 250 units [in inventory] in March and draw it down to 150 by the end of August. But we’re at 65 to 70 (units in inventory) now. As soon as a [delivery] driver unhooks it, someone buys it.”

California Central Valley

Two Fresno, CA, area dealers reported record recent sales as customers see RV ownership as a way to escape social distancing recommendations. For the full story, click here.

RV Sales Booming in Pennsylvania

The governor of Pennsylvania’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was to place some of the tightest restrictions on retailers, including RV dealerships. But once those restrictions were loosened, sales came roaring back.

“It’s been bonkers,” said Greg Starr, Starr’s Trailer Sales, Brockway, PA. “We went from zero to 1,000 miles per hour since April 20. We had no sales traffic at all from March 14 until April 20. We had maybe five (sales customers) total. But as of April 20, it’s turned back on again.

“We’ll never make up what we lost (in March and April),” added Starr, whose dealership is in north central Pennsylvania. “We were swamped in May, but that can’t make-up for April. It’ll slow down back to normal by July 4th, or soon thereafter.”

“In mid-March, I had to lay off all my salespeople,” said Eric Kendle of Keystone RV Center in Greencastle, PA. “They (sales personnel) weren’t even allowed to work online or by phone until mid-April. We were allowed to do by appointment-only on May 29.”

But during the seven working days since May 29, Keystone RV Center received deposits from 151 customers intending to buy an RV. That compares with 202 deposits received by Keystone RV Center during all of June 2019. “So, we’re on track to take 300 to 400 deposits this month,” Kendle said. “I’d say 75 percent of those customers are first-time buyers and a wide variance of demographics -- a cross-section of America.”

At Stoltzfus RV’s & Marine in West Chester, PA, Bob Cox said the dealership sold 40 units during the week of June 1-6, while the typical volume for the time of year would be 25.

The sharp rebound is due to consumer demand that went unsatisfied due to the sales department shutdowns, plus the pandemic made more people reluctant to fly on commercial airlines, take cruises or travel overseas, Cox believes. The RV retail market in the Philadelphia metro area should remain exceptionally strong through the fall and might not slow down to “normal” until next March, he added.

Kendle believes the next two months will be crucial for the industry because -- with all the first-time RV owners on the road -- dealership service techs will need to quickly and efficiently finish a lot of routine repair work that first-time users may not expect to be necessary so soon after their purchase. If those jobs are not completed to the owner’s satisfaction, the industry might not keep those new owners in the RV lifestyle long-term.

Keystone RV Center does not advertise, but good service department reviews on Google are one of the main attractions to the dealership in south/central Pennsylvania, Kendle added.

The improvement and development of campgrounds -- public and private -- is another vital need for the industry “so all these new buyers have a place to go” with their RV, Kendle said.

Meanwhile, inventory at Starr’s Trailer Sales is “lower than usual for this time of year,” Starr said, “it’s an election year, so I like being a little light.”

Stoltzfus RV’s & Marine also is a little light on inventory. Cox said, “I think we could make up for lost sales (in March and April) if I can get inventory. I need more mid-line travel trailers,” which he hopes will arrive in July.

Starr added that some of the industry’s largest suppliers are having difficulty keeping up with the demand for certain, key aftermarket parts and accessories, particularly awnings. Shortages of those parts and accessories “won’t keep people from using their RV, but it might keep them from using it the way they want to,” he said.

Lazydays’ May Orders Up 90%

Multi-location RV dealership company Lazydays Holdings Inc. reports its May orders were up 90 percent when compared with May 2019, and strong demand for RVs continued in June.

Lazydays believes the sharp uptick in demand is due to:
  • Significant market share gains related to the company’s efforts to provide a Best-in-Class Customer Experience and better understand and meet customers’ needs.
  • Pent up demand related to shelter-in-place orders established in March and April.
  • Increased interest in the RV lifestyle as a way to vacation and travel while social distancing.
  • Synergies related to the Company’s integration of acquired dealerships.

To read Lazydays’ complete news release, click here.


An older demographic in parts of Florida means RV dealers need to adapt to a “new normal,” according John McCluskey of Florida Outdoors RV, and Neal Stewart of RV Connections in Panama City and Dothan, AL.

“We didn’t need to close because we were considered an essential business,” said McCluskey, whose dealership has locations in Stewart and Okeechobee, in the southeastern portion of Florida.  “But a lot of people don’t want to come to the dealership.  They want us to go out to their place to make repairs or to transact business by phone or online.  But only experienced RVers will make a purchase without visiting the dealership.  First-time buyers want to see it and touch it.”

Stewart, whose dealership is in the Florida Panhandle, agreed people in his area “are more hesitant” to go shopping outside their homes.

When many parts of the U.S. economy started shutting down in mid-March, McCluskey said Florida Outdoors had a backlog of service orders and sold units needing to be delivered to customers.  Those backlogs have been worked down and now, “we need to refill the pipeline.  How are we doing that? We’re advertising, offering aggressive pricing and service specials.”

At RV Connections, Stewart said, “We’re doing OK, we’re busy again.”  He said his sales this May “were off” compared with May 2019.  RV Connections is a full-line dealership specializing luxury fifth wheels, and Stewart described his inventory as aged, but not too big. Financing for qualified buyers allowing no payments for 90 days is among the incentives offered by RV Connections, according to the dealership’s website.

In an email, Ben Hirsch, COO of Campers Inn, with locations in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Ocala and Leesburg, FL, reported he has seen, “a weekly uptick in traffic both in Northeast and Central Florida since mid-April.  We are finding there is pent-up demand from people who wanted to shop, the normal pre-Memorial Day demand and new demand from first-time buyers. This has allowed us to have a reasonable flow of traffic to the dealerships, especially by appointments.

“In Florida, we believe the dealerships are entering a new normal for service and sales volume and we are experiencing a lot of success at these locations, Hirsch added.”

FRVTA Region 1 Produces RV Awareness Ads
The purpose of these two TV spots is to encourage SW Florida residents to consider RVing (sales & rentals) as a vacation option that's fun and allows social distancing. It will air in strategic news programs through the month of June.

Road To Adventure:

Uncertain Times:


Dealers in the Indianapolis area and the Indiana portion of the Chicago metro area reported brisk sales once Indiana authorities lifted “stay at home” orders in their regions.

“We’ve been selling travel trailers – mainly entry-level trailers-- like there’s no tomorrow,” said Ken Eckstein, CEO of Indianapolis area dealership Mount Comfort RV, where Covid-19 related restrictions on movement and gatherings were lifted May 4. “The other parts of the business have been slow, but at least that part (entry-level towables) is going great guns.”

At the far northwest corner of Indiana, near Chicago, business really picked up once restrictions were lifted, said Todd McGinnis, president, of Pete’s RV, which has dealerships in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, in addition to its Schereville, IN, location.

At Schereville, McGinnis said, “We were shut down – both sales and service – from March 20 until Monday (May 11). We did internet sales prior to (May 11) but we’ve been very, very busy since then. We’re very happy with the amount of business we’ve had since (May 11).

“We’re selling a little of everything, but the bulk of it is travel trailers,” McGinnis added. “It’s pent-up demand, but there are more people interested in RVing than was the case before the pandemic.”

Once Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a stay at home order in March, Mount Comfort went to a “partial staff, selling by phone and internet, and did a decent amount of activity,” Eckstein said. “But when the order lifted (on May 4), it (retail demand) has come back. The majority of customers (since May 4) are in the 35-45 years old age bracket, although we’re still getting buyers who are 55 and up and retirees. And the campgrounds aren’t even open yet, but RVs offer a ray of hope amongst all the gloom & doom.”

Pete’s RV in Indiana saw “more credit challenged customers” when it was trying to transact business remotely during the shut-down, but McGinnis said customer credit quality “is back to normal now.”

As far as sales and inventory levels are concerned, McGinnis said, “Before we shut down, we were trending ahead of (the dealerships’ sales) budget, although less than 10 percent (ahead). Now, we’re behind. March, April and May traditionally are good months for us. We are a little heavy in inventory now, and we’ll probably end the year a little heavy.”

Concerning wholesale credit, McGinnis said, “Our floor plan lender offered to work with us on interest and curtailment payments, but we’re staying current. We’ll need to pay it anyway so we might as well keep paying on schedule.”

Meanwhile, at Mount Comfort. Eckstein said its inventory, as of May 1, was “exactly where I wanted it to be.” But because the RV manufacturers also were shut-down for several weeks, Eckstein believes there could be a temporary product shortage, particularly of entry-level towables, due to manufacturers being unable to immediately ramp up production to pre-pandemic levels. “But the manufacturers have been through this (sharp market downturns) before, they’ll meet the (retail) demand by late summer,” Eckstein said.

Longer term, Eckstein feels the increase in demand for RVs “won’t be an uptick, but a leap forward if the industry does it right. We’ll see pent-up demand short-term but there’s also a demographic shift that will provide long-term benefits to the industry.


The government-ordered “stay at home” orders cooled-off a hot RV retail market in central Ohio, according to two dealers in the Columbus metro area. But the market revived during the last few weeks and may fully recover this summer, said Clint Shepherd, general manager of the RCD RV Supercenter location in Delaware, OH, and Dean Tennison, owner of Specialty RV sales in Canal Winchester, OH.

“Sales are strong – or stronger – than they were at this time a year ago,” Shepherd said. “It could be pent-up demand, although we’re seeing a lot of people who never were interested in RVing until now. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how people are going to vacation in the future, whether it will be sale to fly or stay in a hotel.”

At Specialty RV Sales, “we never missed a beat,” Tennison said. “We had 30 ups on Saturday (May 9) and 30-some ups the Saturday before that (May 2). They’re out there shopping and buying. We’ve closed 24 deals so far in May. During a normal May, we’d do 60-ish.

“Our February was great, we were up 40 percent as of March 15,” Tennison said. “Now, we’re off 20 percent (in unit volume year-to-date) but profits are better. If we get the campgrounds reopened, that would help a lot. This would have been a phenomenal year.”

RCD, which also has locations in Heath and Pataskala, OH, was closed from March 23 through April 6, Shepherd said. Since re-opening, employees worked in shifts until the beginning of May, when the dealership returned to regular hours and full staffing levels. Currently, RCD is selling “a really good mix of entry-level towables to motorhomes. There’s not one (product category) out selling another,” Shepherd said.

Tennison said motorhome sales at Specialty RV “are not doing well at all, but towables are fine – both new and used. We’re mainly selling entry-level stick & tin.”

RCD now is offering more deliveries to customers and private appointments for customers who want to look over a unit without a salesperson present. The dealership also is promoting RVing as the ideal way to vacation while maintaining social distancing during the upcoming camping season, Shepherd said.

Both dealerships reported their inventories were in excellent shape prior to the business disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “I don’t believe we have a single 2019 models left in inventory,” Shepherd said. Any ordering of new units from the manufacturers will be to fill gaps in RCD’s product line-up, he added.

Tennison also said, “We’re in great shape in terms of inventory. If the market comes back strong, we might end up short.” As of mid-March, manufacturers had scheduled RVs to be built for Specialty RV, but Tennison does not know when they arrive on his lot, because the manufacturers also were shut down for six weeks during March and April by the pandemic, and need time to catch-up.

Southern California

There were not many “ups” at Southern California RV dealerships during the first two weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay at home order on March 19, but business improved since then. At La Mesa RV’s headquarters location in San Diego, sales volume was about 50 percent of normal during the first two weeks of April, “but we’ve been trending back towards normalcy since then,” said Jason Kimbrell, co-owner. “Our unit count is not that far off but our profitability is off because we needed to cut prices.”

Richardson’s RV Center Inc. will also look at cutting prices because the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic occurred when it would normally be working to clear out its 2019 models, Amy Richardson said. However, inventories at the dealership, with locations at Riverside, Colton, Menifee and Temecula, CA, are in good shape. “We might be a little on the low side in inventory because we’ve had customers who want to look at more than one model of a certain floor plan, but we only have one in stock,” she said.

At All Valley RV, with locations in Acton and Lancaster, CA, Troy Padgett said his unit volume was down 13 percent year-to-date through April 30 but his sales revenue was up because his inventory included more motorhomes and higher-end toy haulers than it did a year earlier. All Valley’s parts business was down 5 percent, service was down 12.5 percent and rentals were down 50 percent, “although that’s coming back” as campgrounds reopen.

To keep the positive trends going at All Valley RV, Padgett said he will continue providing mobile service, online purchasing, storage, and curbside parts pickup. Meanwhile Richardson’s RV will promote RVs as the safest way to travel and La Mesa RV “will maintain its commitment to customer and employee health and safety” along with being “professional and honest,” Kimbrell said.

Investment Firm Optimistic about Family RV’s Future

The private equity firm that helped Colerain RV – now Family RV – grow from three locations to 12 locations, is confident the dealership group will successfully navigate the market downturn brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Careful inventory management, an emphasis on after-the-sale service and the influx of younger buyers into the RV market are what attracted private equity firm Kidd & Co. to invest in Cincinnati-based Colerain RV in 2016, and fuel its growth to 12 locations in five states.

“Despite the recent Covid-19 related market disruption, I believe the long-term attractive characteristics that drew us, as well as many others, to this industry remain present,” said Ken Heuer, principal at Kidd & Co.

Click here to read the full story.

Dealer Survey:  Industry Outlook Improves

Recent pent-up demand from cooped up consumers – including many first-time buyers – led investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co. to raise its 2020 RV shipment forecast to 340,000 to 350,000 units, from 325,000.  If 345,000 units were shipped this year, that would amount to a 15 percent decline from the 406,100 units shipped in 2019.

In partnership with RVDA, Baird surveyed 121 dealers in May and found a high percentage of dealers believed their inventories were in good shape, despite low sales volumes during the second half of March and a portion of April.

Among towable RV dealers, 42 percent felt their inventories were “about right” as of late April/early May, and 23 percent believed they were “too low”.  For motorhomes, 37 percent felt their inventories were “about right” and 22 percent believed they were “too low.”

Mainly due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the retail market, RV dealers’ sentiment – as measured by Baird’s Dealer Sentiment Index – plunged to 29, from 72 in late January/early February, when Baird last surveyed dealers.  However, dealers’ three- to five-year outlook during the most recent survey improved to 74 from 68 three months earlier, which is “well into positive territory.”

Camping World New Unit Sales Down, Used Unit Sales Up

Camping World Holdings Inc. reports its first quarter new RV sales were down 5 percent to 14,208 units while its used RV sales were up 6 percent to 8,682 units. The company, which operated 157 RV dealership locations as of March 31, reported a net loss of $14.1 million because of expenses related to the liquidation on non-RV inventory and closure of locations where it cannot sell or service RVs, and the Covid-19 pandemic. For Camping World’s complete earnings report, click here.


RV dealers in the Lone Star State are taking steps to make their customers feel they’re shopping in a safe environment.

Employees of Houston area dealership Topper’s Camping Center and United RV in Fort Worth are required to wear masks, observe social distancing guidelines, and other recommendations from medical experts.  There have been no complaints, and most customers arrive wearing their own masks, according to Larry Troutt III of Topper’s Camping and Bill White of United RV.  Both dealerships also have masks available for customers who arrive without one.

Texas counties where the state’s largest cities are located issued stay-at-home orders before Gov. Greg Abbott issued his statewide order, so Topper’s Camper and United RV endured lean times in late March and early April.   

Troutt closed his dealership eight days at the end of March and beginning of April. White had one group of salespeople work a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule and another group work a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule.

Customer traffic gradually improved at both dealerships in April and came roaring back when many restrictions on customer movement and gatherings were removed on May 1.  On May 2, United RV took 11 deposits -- “the best Saturday we’ve had in a long time,” says White.

“We had 21 ‘ups’ on Saturday,” Troutt says. “On May 1 and 2, we sold 15 units and we’ve sold four more since then.”

 White relied on rentals to public safety agencies for use as mobile command centers, temporary housing, and other governmental uses to generate cash prior to the arrival of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.

 After seeing parts department foot traffic down 50 percent at United RV, White doubled down on online sales and was able to raise business back almost to previous levels.

United RV’s technicians “worked off our backlog pretty quickly.” But several units in inventory were dented during a hailstorm several days ago, so now the service department has plenty to do, White says.

At Topper’s Camping Center, Troutt continued paying for Google search engine optimization during April and believes it helped attract first-time buyers and experienced RV owners transitioning into full-time RVers.  He assumes many dealers had stopped paying for SEO then, so links to his website moved up in Google rankings.

Because the coronavirus has made many people afraid to fly or vacation in densely populated cities, Troutt believes now is the time to reach customers with the message that RVing is the safest way to vacation.  He plans to be the first dealer to return to TV advertising in the Houston market.  He also wants to work with two Houston area friends who are now a “nomadic, full-time RVer couple,” to produce how-to podcasts at the dealership.  

United RV also is transitioning its messaging away from Covid-19 to reminders about the beginning of camping season.


The sales process is dramatically different these days at Manteca Trailer and Motorhome in Manteca, CA, says dealer David Tenney.  "We have a greeter at the front doors wearing a mask and gloves, and the customers have to stop on an X on the floor and go through an interview."  Showroom visits are by appointment, and customers must be looking for a specific type of RV, not just browsing.  "We ask them to do online credit applications ahead of time," says Tenney. "And we have a full-time employee who does nothing but disinfect all of the stations all day, every day."

Like many dealers, Tenney is relying on the Internet to keep his dealership in consumers' minds. In fact, he's increased his online advertising budget by 50 percent. 

In terms of customers, he's sold trailers to people who wanted to set them up in their yards so they could move elderly parents out of nursing homes, emergency service providers, and even a homeless person who collected donations to buy a trailer. "And we saw lots of people who figured RV dealerships were probably going out of business and they'd get a good deal right now," Tenney says. "You'd better believe we gave them that deal."

Lazydays Reports Higher Earnings and Unit Volume During First Quarter

Lazydays Holdings Inc. got off to a good start in 2020 with a 10.3 percent increase in revenue over first quarter 2019 and a 22 percent increase in RV unit sales. Lazydays operates RV dealerships in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, and Tennessee. For Lazydays’ complete news release, click here.


Gib's RV Superstore in Coos Bay, OR, has emphasized in all of its advertising that camping "is the best germ-free vacation," says dealer Lisa Larkin, RVDA's Oregon delegate. Her store has maintained its advertising schedule and budget but is relying heavily on the Internet. "Our message is that 'We’re here for you,'" she says. "‘We’re here, we’re open, we’re cleaning constantly, and we’re being very careful.’ A lot of people live in RVs in our area, and we wanted them to know that we were still open and here with parts and service. A lot of people who came in said ‘I’m so glad you’re still here, because my sink broke.’"

Larkin finds that many customers don't want to negotiate over price. "They come in, they pay the advertised price, or they only ask for a small adjustment. The people coming in are buyers. They are ready to buy and ready to pay what they need to pay," she says.

Campgrounds in her area are in the process of reopening this week and next, she says, "and I can’t wait to see what kind of explosion we have.”

Upstate New York

With the easing of COVID-19 related restrictions possibly occurring as soon as May 15, RV dealers in Upstate and Western New York are confident the RV market will rebound in the area.   “We’ve had a lot of interest since private campgrounds in the Upstate opened last weekend (May 2-3),” said Andy Heck of Alpin Haus, with locations in Amsterdam, Saratoga and Port Jervis, NY. “We did some deliveries (of RVs to campground sites), and we think there will be pent-up demand – big time. Maybe not as many shoppers, but there’s buyers out there, so closing ratios will be way up.”
Jim Colton of Colton RV, with locations in North Tonawanda, Orchard Park and Blasdale, NY, said his dealership sold two highline motorhomes “over the phone” on Saturday (May 2), which was a pleasant surprise considering his sales volume in April was only about half of what it was during April 2019.   Interest rates are now extremely low, and Colton said both highline motorhome purchases were financed. “We’re pushing financing. We did some price-slashing (to move product during April), but not a ton,” he said. “We’re treating different brands (in terms of retail pricing and wholesale order volume) differently.

Brian Wilkins of Wilkins RV, with locations in Bath, Churchville, Syracuse and Victor, NY, admitted, “We came into April full of fear, but April turned out to be a lot better than we expected. We didn’t cancel any factory orders in April. We said they (manufacturers) could build what was scheduled and now, we are ordering product.   “I think there will be some pent-up demand,” Wilkins continued. “2020 will be a rough ride. Small businesses will take a hit and that will affect the ability of people to buy RVs. But 2021 and beyond, it could be good for the RV industry.”

All RV dealerships in New York State were shut down March 22, but after a few days, service departments reopened once they were re-classified as essential businesses. However, sales departments still can only operate virtually – by social media, email, phone or appointment only – at least until May 15.

At Alpin Haus, the service departments at Amsterdam and Saratoga “have been getting busier every single week” since their re-opening, Heck said. The exception has been Port Jervis, which is closer to New York City, and Heck believes people there are more afraid of becoming infected than people 150 miles north in the Upstate.  “Our RV sales were down 75 percent in April,” Heck said. “Once we fully reopen, I think sales in every remaining month of this year will be higher than last year, but I don’t think we’ll make-up for the two months of almost no sales.”  Alpin Haus’ staffing level is 60 to 70 percent of what it would normally be for early May.  Colton RV is up to 100 employees now, with the goal of expanding its payroll to 135 by June. As of the first week of March. Wilkins said his parts and service departments were fully staffed and “one-third of our sales department is now employed.” 

At all three dealerships, employees and customers are mandated by the state to wear masks because social distancing is not always possible inside an office building. Colton RV has a table at the public entrance to its locations where customers can find masks, gloves and hand sanitizers for use during their visits. “We’ll probably put a greeter there to help customers with those items,” Colton added.