By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The years 2020 and 2021 are ones marked by a huge croaker for RV retailers: show cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in Fort Myers, Florida, the RV show doesn’t go on, and it has nothing to do with COVID-19 – well, not directly.
The dealers started calling in
The 26th Annual RV SuperSaver Show (links to 2020 show, since 2021 show website not available) was supposed to bring in RV lookee-loos and serious buyers this April. Promoters ramped up to greet the masses at Lee County’s CenturyLink venue. But then the dealers started calling in.
Back in the ’60s the question was, “What if they had a war, and nobody came?” In Florida, it’s, “What if they had a show, and nobody had anything to sell?” Dealers in Florida (and elsewhere around the U.S.) are reporting shortages of both new and used rolling stock. Everett Henkel III is from dealer RV Kountry, and is associated with show management. “We realize the public is clamoring for our products, but we wanted to continue our decades-long tradition of showcasing the finest RV products available at our events and at this time it just isn’t possible.” The RV show doesn’t go on.
Not the first to cancel
Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Last January the big 36th annual Fort Myers RV Show – the largest dealer-sponsored event in the state – was likewise canceled. Reason? A paucity of inventory. The RV show doesn’t go on.
But organizers aren’t giving up. They’re still planning a fall RV show, and for next January, the 37th annual Fort Myers show. Will that actually be the 36th? The viability of future shows depends on RVers’ buying habits, and how many used rigs flood the market. With pundits suggesting many new buyers will find they don’t use their rigs like they thought they might, by next fall, dealers may be awash with them.