Waiting list evaporates
Overall, Wisconsin recreational-vehicle dealers have fared better than dealers in some other states.
In August, Wisconsin sales actually increased nearly 4% from a year earlier – while the nation’s sales were down 19%.
RV sales typically are strongest early in an economic growth cycle when interest rates are low and consumer confidence is improving.
Camp-Inn Trailers, a custom travel-trailer manufacturer in Necedah, said it had three strong months last fall.
Camp-Inn trailers are styled after teardrop-shaped campers from the 1940s.
In 2002, the company’s first year, it sold 15 trailers. In 2009 it sold about 55 trailers – a 267% increase from 2002.
Camp-Inn trailers are hand built, one at a time. The company previously had a lengthy waiting list for its products, but that changed during the recession.
“We weren’t used to people canceling orders. Usually by the time they have committed to buying something like this, they have done their homework and are pretty serious. It’s not an impulse buy,” said Cary Winch, company co-owner.
Camp-Inn trailers are small enough to be pulled by almost any vehicle. The company has seen a trend of people buying smaller vehicles and then wanting a small camper to match.
That’s one outcome of the recession that has been good for the company, Winch said.