Suppliers have largely been on the sidelines during the history of Elkhart Open House Week.
Most companies, when asked, would simply defer to the manufacturers, saying it was their signature event, so the suppliers didn’t want to get in the way.
But for the 2018 Open House – with the RV Industry Association’s national trade show rescheduled for next spring and revamped to have more of a consumer allure – West Coast marketing firm CIRV Inc. will be hosting the RV Supplier and Vendor Showcase on a 2- to 3-acre plot of land on Executive Parkway near the RV/MH Hall of Fame that most recently was the exhibit spot for Gulf Stream and TAXA RVs at last year’s show.
CIRV’s Randall Jeremiah said he was able to secure the property through Rob Letherman, president of Elkhart-based Northland Corp. He said the company is looking to set up 100 booths on the site, but that doesn’t mean there will be 100 suppliers represented, since he expects some to reserve more than one spot.
Jeremiah said the exhibit is not related to a smaller supplier show that had located across the street from Forest River’s Dynamax plant at the Norco Industries plant the past few years.
Norco Industries' (BAL) John Hawkins said the company will continue its supplier showcase for the fourth year with name-brand suppliers. He said they are there to complement the OEMs and support Open House Week.
“This is a little different,” Jeremiah said. “We’re not the same people. It was very limited. With Louisville closing down, we saw a need. We do a lot of marketing – we’ve had Louisville, we’ve had booths at RVDA – so our marketing company, CIRV, decided to do this.”
Jeremiah said that word of mouth has been expanding and vendors already have been expressing interest.
“It’s going to be definitely a place that will be worthwhile for dealers to go to,” he said. “If we can get enough vendors all in one spot, it will make it a whole lot easier for the dealers to come and they will be more receptive instead of just stopping at one spot or two. Here, they can stop at one spot and see everybody.”
With the Louisville show moving and changing its focus, Jeremiah said the bulk of the industry’s buying is going to be done at Open House, so he doesn’t see the Vendor Showcase taking away any of the main event’s thunder.
The Showcase will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, through Thursday, Sept. 27.
For more information or to reserve a booth, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-267-2690.