RV PRO

March '17

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54 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com changes for the next show. A top priority is finding more show space because ven- dors were a bit cramped for space this year, and the situation is only likely to get worse if more vendors are added next year, Schuessler says. "We had such a large number of ven- dors that the show this year was actually crowded on the floor so we are looking at getting more floor space," he says. "We will continue to work on the show for 2018. We are looking to grow." Foland Sales Kicks Off January Shows Foland Sales kicked off the January distributor shows this year with its Jan. 5-6 gathering in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The show date was the earliest the annual event has ever taken place, a c c o rd i n g t o Fo l a n d Sa l e s ow n e r Charlie Foland. "We were a little bit concerned coming out that close to the holiday, but it didn't seem to affect (attendance)," Foland says, noting the show experienced about 10 percent increase in dealer atten- dance over 2016. "They (dealers) had plenty of time to prep because that week before New Year's is not that busy of a week, so it seemed to work out." The earlier date was the result of New Year's Day falling on a Sunday, combined with a packed January show lineup that left only a few dates open in the month. Still, hosting the first show of the season has its advantages, according to Foland. "What I like is that you have all your sales people that are just fresh off vacation time and they're ready to go," he says. Though a February show was an option, Foland says he prefers to avoid a late-winter event. Several years ago, he hosted a show in February, and says the wear of several weeks of travel had begun to affect the vendor sales teams. "By that time, these guys were worn out," he says. "They were not on their A-game. They were there and their hearts were in the right place, but I don't care, they're human beings and you could tell." The two-day event kicked off with brief, 20-minute supplier seminars, meant to pique dealer interest in the product offering. Afterward, the show floor opened for a few hours prior to an opening night reception, and a full day of exhibits the following day. On the exhibit floor, suppliers ele- vated their investment in regional distri- bution – a fact Foland says was notice- able from the presentation from vendor exhibits at the event. "I saw more at this show (from ven- dors), than I have ever," he says. "The booths that the suppliers set up were just knockout booths, incredible. There's been years where, I've thought, 'C'mon, it takes more than throwing products on a six-foot table.' And this year they pulled out all the stops. "I really think the suppliers are starting to see the value of regional distributors and what they can do for them," he adds. Foland says that the value to vendors boils down to one word: Partnerships. Specifically, partnerships offered between the wholesaler, vendor and dealer. "Each one depends on the other, and if the three of them work together, the success really grows," he says. "Take any one out of that mix and the other one fails. If we depend on each other, we can keep things like eBay and the Internet at bay. If we work together we can be successful." 54 • RV PRO • March 2017 rv-pro.com Show Coverage The Foland Sales leadership team is made up of (from left) Charlie Foland, his son David Foland, and Charlie's father Chuck Foland, who is retired but helps out during the busy summer months. Foland Sales kicked off the January distributor show season with its Jan. 5-6 event in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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