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Fort Myers RV show packs them in

January 30, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

It was a cold, sometimes rainy weekend in Southwest Florida. So, if you had nothing to do, it was a good time to head to the Lee Civic Center to check out the hundreds of cabin cruisers, coaches and tow-along vehicles that 14 dealers and more than 100 vendors had for people to look at and buy at the 34th annual Fort Myers RV Show.

Friday, was the best day of the four, and thousands showed up to see the latest and the best for those interested in the "RV lifestyle" at Florida's largest RV show.

Jack Carver, show manager, said that while Thursday started out slow, it picked up later in the day as it cleared up.

"The morning was not good obviously, we were down in numbers. We have a lot of interest and the RV lifestyle is going gangbusters," Carver said. "There's a keen interest in living the dream."

Mark Harlan, sales manager at North Trail RVs of Fort Myers and one of the committee members for the show, said it's been a great show, with some of the hardcore buyers coming in the wind and rain to buy so as to beat the crowd.

"The show has been well received, which bodes well for us. When everyone is open to asking for payment amounts, people are still out spending money," Harlan said. "We had a dip in the last quarter of last year, but the start of this year is starting out strong."

There was something for just about every price point, with small tow pop-ups for as little as $10,000 to luxury Class A motor coaches that run for almost $1 million.

There was also a good run on smaller motorcoaches that run under $100,000, which were not really seen at these shows before. Carver said they are meeting a demand.

"We are trying to make this more appealing for those looking to trade up from a trailer or towable-unit to a motorized one," Carver said. "Sometimes people want to downsize from a larger coach to a smaller one."

But it was those large ones, especially the high-end models that people wanted to see. Some of those coaches had a dozen people at a time in there, making it look like a tailgate party than an RV show.

Ted Boldt, of South Naples via London, Ontario, Canada, said he came to see what they had, though he wasn't interested in buying. He thought the $360,000 unit he was in was really nice, a "wanna-be" as one person called it.

"It's beautiful, there's a lot of people who are friendly and good to talk to. I came to see what's available," Boldt said. "I may buy something in th future, but not today.

For Cindy Gettle, of Port Charlotte, it was a place where she and her husband were looking to buy, and they did; a nice tow-unit.

"We're going to travel out west and we thought we would come here and we got a real good buy," Gettle said. "We just want to see the Rockies and be able to see the country while we still can. We have a big dog and want to take him along."



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