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Keller Readies 'More Complete' Wholesale Event

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Three days ahead of Keller Marine and RVs wholesale show, Mike Keller hopes this year’s event delivers “the usual, and then some more”.

The two-day wholesale event, which kicks off Tuesday (Nov. 1) at the Lancaster Convention Center in Lancaster, Pa., has changed plenty since Keller’s father debuted a fledgling event to a gathering of dealers in 1958, but the goal of building upon the “usual” features at each successive meeting stays the same. 

Specifically, Keller, who serves as president of the company, aims to improve upon last year’s success by filling out certain vendor categories at the 2016 show, while continuing to improve features the show is known for, such as its electronic ordering system and training lineup.

“We’re going to have some new vendors, based on being a more complete offering,” Keller said. “It’s a wider selection.”

Notably, Keller said that the towing solutions vendors at the show make up a “one-stop shop”. First-time vendor Remco adds to existing towing solutions from companies, such as Blue Ox and Demco, with its pump product designed to keep fluid circulating for tow vehicles’ transmissions.

“You really can’t flat-tow a lot of cars without some bypass on the (automatic) transmission,” Keller explains. “So without Remco in the mix, we really couldn’t complete that towing option.”

As a theme throughout the event, Keller hopes to bring dealers attentions to items that are impractical for internet sales, such as RV furniture and awnings, which Keller calls “Amazon killers.”

That wouldn’t exclude smaller items and add-on accessories, Keller said, noting that the aim is to bring dealers’ attention to items that drive consumers to the dealership.

“We still want them to sell little items that may ship nicely on the internet too, but these are things that keep the dealer in the game, and keep consumers coming to the dealership versus buying online,” he said. “So we really want to focus on that as we sell products at the show, as well as add-on accessories, which has been one of our hot-button issues in recent years.”

Two tech-training sessions are offered the opening day of the show for attendees to choose between. Cequent will present training around its Tekonsha and Reese Pro Series lines, and Martial Excelsior will host LP gas training.

During the closing day, about a dozen vendors will also participate in the Nov. 2 parts manager training sessions that give dealer employees an overview on new and existing products at the event.

Meanwhile, Keller’s digital ordering system, which allows dealers to track purchases in real-time during the event, continues to evolve.

 “We’ve been doing that for ten years, so its not new, but its appreciated by the dealers,” he said. “We’re constantly refining that with hand-helds, cell phones and however they like to see their orders.”

The trivia contest among attendees, who competed for the first Keller Cup trophy last year, also received upgrades this year. This year’s event allows contestants to participate through an app on their smart phones and tablets, according to Keller.

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