American RV in Grand Rapids is one of the top 50 RV dealers in North America. Photo via fb.com
Time to start planning those summer trips — or at least daydreaming about where you might go when the snow melts and the sun begins to show its face.
Doubling its lot
In Michigan, the summer months often mean road trips, and Grand Rapids-based American RV is expecting 2014 to be a good year for RV purchases.
So good that the RV dealer is undertaking a five-acre expansion of its display lot.
“Right now, we have about five acres of current display, and we are going to double that,” said Chad Neff, American RV general manager.
American RV sits on 19 acres off U.S. Route 131 and 76th St. SW. The business will use land that it already owns for the expansion.
Neff said that the expansion will give it space to display a greater offering of RVs.
“Our inventories are the highest that they’ve ever been — as far as rolling inventory, our RV stock is up,” Neff said.
Construction is set to begin early this summer and be completed around July.
In addition to the expansion, Neff expects to add staff before the summer season hits, bringing the number of employees at American RV to more than 50.
He said he is looking for both sales and service professionals.
Return of discretionary income
Neff noted that there are several factors contributing to the growing RV market, particularly the return of a healthy economy and a lot of pent-up demand.
“The RV industry is a really good forecast of the economic times,” Neff explained. “We are normally the first ones into a slow down. Throughout the history of our business, we’ve seen where disposable income products are the first to go to the wayside, but once people start feeling like the economy is starting to come back around and there is some stability, we are the first ones.”
Neff added that interest rates and stable commodity pricing are also helping the RV industry.
“A lot of the RV pricing is based off of the commodities,” Neff said. “Commodities are staying tight where they are at.”
Top RV state
It helps that Michigan is an RV mecca.
Neff said that the state has ranked among the top three of states with the most-registered RVs, alongside California and Florida.
There are plenty of local destinations for Michigan residents looking for short or longer vacations.
“Michigan is such a resource for local activities,” Neff said.
Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show
There is no need to wait for warmer temperatures to go RV shopping either.
DeVos Place will host the Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show this Thursday through Sunday.
A dozen West Michigan RV dealers representing more than 100 RV lines will be at the show.
Admission is $9 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-14 and free for children 5 and under.