The RV industry is riding a wave. Buoyed by a good economy, the lowest gas prices in a generation and thousands of baby boomers turning 50 each day, the industry is awash in sales and profits.
Cammy Goetz, owner of Curtis Trailers in Portland, Ore., has worked at her family's dealership since she was 5 years old. In September, Goetz, now 48, was named chairwoman of the Recrea-tional Vehicle Dealers Association. She spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Woodyard at this month's National RV Trade Show in Louis-ville, Ky. Edited excerpts follow.
How is the RV dealer network responding to publicly owned auto dealerships?
There are some publicly held RV dealers, and they have had some success, but to what extent that success will be long term, we don't know yet. Smaller dealers are being pressured. There are a lot of megadealerships coming in with a little bit better leverage, a little bit more buying power. Some dealerships might want to take advantage of that situation. It is very good for some dealers and certainly not very good for others. The retail environment is certainly changing.
Much has been said about baby boomers and their impact on RV sales. What do baby boomers bring to the dealership?
Their demands are much greater than demands of customers that we have seen in the past, in terms of 'I want it, and I want it now.' Their level of expectation is higher all the way through, from the ground floor up - selling, servicing, the usage of the product, everything.
How do your members hope to respond to those demands?
I am focused on the industry vision. Understanding that, as dealers, we really are dependent upon our suppliers, our manufacturers and the campgrounds to deliver the total quality experience for our customers. ... All segments of the industry really need to coordinate our efforts at customer satisfaction.
How is the industry vision statement coming?
We are in the early stages. Sometimes we get wrapped up with thinking of ourselves as a dealership, focusing inwardly. And yet, to be good partners with the manufacturers and campground owners, we have to be able to look out of the box and understand that our success is based not only on what we do, but on those around us.