RVs as popular as ever

Local News

JOPLIN, Mo. — Don’t look now – but cars, trucks and suvs aren’t the only four-wheeled vehicles being sold in the Joplin area. Would you believe there’s an uptick in the sale of RVs?

According to a study from a website called Outdoorsy, R.V. sales in the Joplin area account for over 50 million dollars annually. Doug Lown says part of the reason has to do with who’s buying them.

Doug Lown, Salesman, Coachlight RV Sales & Service, said, “In the old days a lot of people thought that recreation vehicles were simply for retired couples, and we have seen a progressive movement to a younger buyer.”

But local dealers say they could sell a lot more truck campers, 5th wheels, travelers and motor homes if they could just get their hands on more of them. Right now, they say it’s a case of supply chain problems and increasing demand, fueled in large part by the pandemic effect.

Sheri Wheelen, Wheelen RV Center, Inc., said, “There’s over 30 container ships docked, floating in the water off the united states and so many r-v supplies are in that, a lot of the appliances come from overseas, not necessarily China but French, French manufacturing in the refrigerators and furnaces.”

“Depleted, compared to what it usually is, normally we have a 130 units on the lot and right now there’s less than 30, and that’s true in the entire industry, all dealership in the rv industry are fighting supply and inventory issues right now,” said Lown.

“In a normal year, there would be as many as 22 units inside the showroom and and double that many out here in the parking lot.”

“People don’t enjoy hoteling it anymore, they want to go out, they want to be in the fresh air, the clean air, and parks and hiking and fishing and doing that with their families, it’s such a family oriented experience now.”

“After the initial covid shock of last march, people realized, as we have our own lives, as all of us that have been around this business for ever realized, that if they still wanted to enjoy their time and be with family and being able to isolate themselves, rving was the way to do it,” said Lown.

Since there are only two units in their showroom right now, both of which have already been sold, they’re using the extra space to host an upcoming high school reunion.

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