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Report: Florida RV Dealers Get Creative to Keep Pace

Unlike when they faced the economic downturn of 2008-09, RV dealers in Florida and nationwide have been pleasantly surprised with the surge in sales that came with widespread business shutdowns and despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although RV shipments for the year are down compared to the previous year, they surged back in July to post the highest July shipment numbers in four decades. The RV Industry Association’s monthly survey of manufacturers showing 43,035 units shipped during that month, representing an increase of more than 50 percent from the 28,044 units shipped in July 2019.

“Whether it was because their international travel plans were cancelled, they were concerned with taking a flight or RVs allow them to have more control on their environment, people and families have been turning to recreational vehicles as the ideal way to travel … especially this summer,” said Vince Ponciano, the newly elected board president of the Florida RV Trade Association’s Northeast Florida Chapter.

The resurgence in sales was a surprise to Dana Drake, a long-time employee of Dick Gore’s RV World, who decided to strike out on his own to open Dana Drake’s Countryside RV in Green Cove Springs in March at the height of the pandemic.

“Despite the timing of our opening, we came through it and we’re gaining some inventory,” said Drake.  Drake also explains that at his dealership, located at 4127 Highway 17 South, only selsl used RVs. This has made his new venture especially challenging.

Click here to read the full report from Jacksonville.com, the online arm of the Florida Times-Union.

“Used RVs are very hard to get a hold of, since they are hotter than firecrackers right now,” said Drake, who finds used recreational vehicles at auctions, from individual sellers and by offering a consignment service for RV owners.

Tony Kindelspire

Tony Kindelspire is the digital content editor of RV PRO magazine.

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