Rob Reid, Great Lakes RVDorinda Heiden-Guss, Elkhart County EDC

The following story comes from FOX 28, Elkhart, Ind., reporting from the Midwest RV Super Show running through Sunday at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart. The event was attracting a younger buyer to the show, looking for a more economical, convenient way to travel with a family.

It’s the industry Northern Indiana is known for and finally, after the economic downturn, it is definitely looking up. We’re talking about the RV industry. This year’s Midwest RV Super Show has doubled in size since last year. Not bad considering the show was canceled altogether in 2009. Dealers say they are not just selling more, they’re selling to a new demographic.

Becky Balone and her husband are searching for an RV so they can take their toddler son, Anthony, camping with ease. “Before we had our son we were out almost two to three times a month so we’d like to get back to that and with a camper we could,” said Balone.

RV salesmen say the past few years it’s been mostly people over 55 buying their products. But now with the economy bouncing back, the 35 to 54 crowd is also willing to pay for the benefits of an RV. Balone said, “Once you have it, it’s an easy vacation for families. Once you have it, you can go anywhere.”

David Ables is looking to upgrade his RV and said, “You’ve got a great shower, great air conditioning system, you’ve got refrigerators, you’ve got microwaves so it’s almost like you’re at home but you’re not.”

And those RV salesmen are certainly happy business is expanding so they’re making sure they’re attracting that younger crowd. President of Great Lakes RV Center, Rob Reid, said, “We’re trying to gear our Internet ads, our local ads for those younger buyers.”

And once they get those younger buyers to check out their RV’s they make sure they’re stocking what they are looking for. “They want to go camping and enjoy their family so we try to provide them the best camper that meets their needs whether it’s a bunk house, a lounge, a kitchen,” said Reid.

Selling to the younger buyers is good for business. “It’s gonna drive up sales, drive up profits and everything,” said Reid.

This is good news for the RV industry is also good news for our area since over 80 percent of RVs in the U.S. are built right here in Elkhart County. The Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County says they’ve seen significant growth in the RV industry lately. Companies are expanding and adding more jobs. And when there are more jobs there’s more economic stability in the area.

“It creates an environment, a culture where other industry can grow and flourish and other support industries can be supported,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, executive director with the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.

The RV industry doing well also improves the quality of life for most of us because it brings more retailers and services to the area.

The Midwest RV show is being held at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart until Sunday. It goes from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.