Interior Secretary Visits RV Show in Louisville
The U. S. Secretary of Interior was in Louisville today (Nov. 29) to give a boost to the struggling recreational vehicle industry. That industry is bouncing back after being hard-hit by the recession.
Manufacturers, dealers, and suppliers in the RV industry from across the country are in Louisville this week for their annual trade show. The South Wing of the Exposition Center is filled from end to end with their various models, WDRB-TV, Louisville, Ky., reported.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cut the ribbon for the opening of the three-day trade show. Afterwards, he toured the exhibit hall and took a first-hand look at all of the products on display.
The RV industry is bouncing back from difficult economic times with smaller, lighter, and more fuel-efficient models. Secretary Salazar, who is responsible for the upkeep of the nation’s parks, says the recovery of the RV industry is important to the nation’s economic well-being.
“It’s a United States industry, it is made here in America, it is American workers who are making these products,” Salazar told WDRB News.
In 2008 there were more than 104 RV manufacturers in the United States. Today that number has dwindled to 68.
Ever Green RV, out of Middlebury, Ind., in the northern part of the state, is one of the RV industry’s success stories.
The company began manufacturing just three years ago, during the recession when several partners who lost their jobs when RV companies in which they were working, went out of business.
“We decided the only way to get back into business was to use the knowledge and the technology we’ve created and start our own company,” says Ever Green president and chief operating officer Douglas Lantz.
He acknowledges they took a big chance during tough economic times. “Everybody thought we were crazy,” he says. “Why would be get back into the RV businesses? But the fact of the matter is that is what we know.”
So far so good. He says business has been steady this year and that they have grown every year that they have been open.
Lantz says his new company does things a lot differently from the days before the recession began. “We are the first certified green manufacturer in the industry,” he says. “We are first to use composite materials in place of wood to make the RV’s lighter and more fuel efficient.”
The industry says overall sales are flat, but it is looking forward to better times ahead having, it believes, survived the worst of times.
“You take the pie there as it is now with the companies that are left,” says Richard Coon, the president of the Recreation Industry Vehicle Association (RVIA), “and divide it up and the remaining businesses have a good chance of making a profit and staying in business.”
With more than 8,000 visitors in Louisville this week for the RV show, it is one of the city’s largest annual trade shows.