March '16

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climes fits right in with the plans for the dis- tributor. Brunswick bought Land 'N' Sea/ Bell just before the 2015 show with an eye toward competing as a national distributor. 'Another Option' Brunswick's leadership knows what they're up against. They know there are quality national and regional competitors in RV distribution. But they've also heard the grumblings about a lack of competition and concerns about consolidation. And Brunswick is counting on its expe- rience in marine distribution to combine with the RV experience of Land 'N' Sea/ Bell to make for a winning combination. "We want to give the dealers an option," Conners said. "We want to understand what the dealers' needs are and we want to help work that together so we can be part of that solution and partnership. … We think there are a lot of things that we've done on the marine side that will benefit us as we grow in the RV side. ... "As we spend more time understanding what their requirements and needs are, we can put a program in place that is going to give them another option in the market- place. We need to earn that. It's not just going to be given to us," he added. "We're very optimistic in that we feel there are a lot of vendors that are supporting us in that initiative." Listening to feedback was as important as the sales totals for this year's show. For the 2015 show, the schedule was already in place and registration well under way by the time Brunswick completed the deal. That show was done the old way. Brunswick had more of a hand in the 2016 show – and it was apparent to dealers in attendance. "It's been a very nice show with a lot more suppliers than they used to have," said Mick Ferkey, owner of Greeneway RV Sales & Service in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. "They also have a lot more personnel than they used to. We have a good relationship with them and they are very good to deal with. I don't like those big guys." Ferkey said he wasn't a big fan of the show's pre-show order requirements, how- ever. Dealers were required to order a cer- tain amount of product before they could register for a hotel room. The requirement, from Brunswick's per- spective, was to help dealers get an early rv-pro.com MARCH 2016 • RV PRO • 69 Because of pre-show ordering requirements, dealers were able to spend more time just talking with exhibitors at the Land 'N' Sea/Bell show. Discussions ranged from new products, to existing product features, to working out issues that had arisen between dealers and suppliers over the previous year.

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