SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- An industry that took a hit during the recession is rebounding, and the evidence can be found right here in the Ozarks. The 24th annual RV Mega Show and Sale is going on through Sunday at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The show's organizer says it's the best turnout he's seen in Springfield, and he also predicts a lot of RV purchases this weekend.
On a day when most are thinking wintry weather, folks inside the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E-Plex are thinking trips to the lake. "We're looking for snow to stop now," says Kay Bolin. She and her husband just bought a new RV. "I like the size, I like the way it's set up," Bolin says.
They're not the only ones buying. RV show organizer Mike Roades says they're among a couple dozen buyers on just the first day. "This has been the biggest turnout I've had in 24 years in Springfield," Roades says.
Roades is thankful for the turnout, after an especially rough week of preparation. "We started moving RVs in here early, because of the blizzard, but you know, all 13 dealers came through the blizzard last Monday and Tuesday. We had some jack-knifes in the road," Roades says.
But things are now looking up, just like the RV industry. Roades says it slowed about 25 to 30 percent during the recession, but the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reports deliveries of from manufacturers to dealers rose 13.6% last year. They expect a repeat this year. "Now, the manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with it," says Roades.
"We just like being able to hook our bikes on the back, bring the grandkids, if we want to go to the lake, spread out, and you get to meet a whole different culture of people that you wouldn't if you were in a condominium," says RV owner John Wiesmann.
Perhaps some are encouraged by economic factors or advances in RVS, but for many, it's just living out a dream. "People aren't caring about what's going on in D.C. They're tired of hearing it. And people plan for retirement for 20, 30 years, to sell that house and buy an RV and move to Texas or do whatever. The biggest majority ain't going to let nothing stop them," says Roades.