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At Graham’s Tree Service,
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Owner, Denny Graham
Office (910) 617-2272 • Mobile (281) 734-0225
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Graham’s Tree Service Wilmington NC
AUTO • HOME • LIFE • RETIREMENT • MOTORCYCLE • RENTERS
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and the service you want.
MORGAN SCHEIBEL AGENT/OWNER
3715 Patriot Way, Ste 135
Wilmington, NC 28412
SOCIAL DISTANT TRAVEL
CORONAVIRUS FEARS PULL RV INTEREST TO ALL-TIME HIGHS
EVEN with the surge of the coronavirus, people still want to
venture outdoors. To make that happen, vacationers are
flocking to recreational vehicles (RVs) in record numbers.
Staying in an RV is a safer way to navigate the pandemic
than flying somewhere and using a hotel.
“Camping is a perfect vacation during COVID-19. It’s outdoors and
physically distanced and you are sleeping in your own RV or tent,” says
Joel Tomaselli, owner of Wilmington KOA campground.
Short-term rental bans enacted in many North Carolina counties
during the initial pandemic response kept even RVers at home in the
spring, but now campgrounds are frequently at or near capacity.
“April and May were very quiet because of the short-term rental ban
but as soon as that was lifted we filled up again,” Tomaselli says.
For the uninitiated, the term RV refers to a large variety of vehicles,
from pop-up campers with canvas walls and toy haulers to fifth-wheel
campers and bus-size motor coaches that often have pop-out walls that
expand with the touch of a button – high-end technology with all the
luxuries of home.
Whether the end of the short-term rental ban or the idea that recre-ational
vehicles can offer a way to minimize the risk of pandemic expo-sure
while traveling, RV dealers have seen a sharp uptick in business.
“From about the middle to the end of May, things went from zero to
140 miles an hour with our hair on fire, and it has been like that ever
since,” says Bill Mirrielees, general manager of Howard RV Center in
Even on a day with torrential rain, sales associates were outside help-ing
multiple customers all morning long.
Having large groups of customers sounds like a great problem to
have, but there is a downside. The rise in demand has fueled a lack of
inventory the likes of which the industry has never seen.
“We’re running out of inventory,” Mirrielees says. “When all the plants
shut down at the end of March, they already had a big backlog. The sup-ply
chain of vendor-related items was still in tatters. We’re seeing a lot of
very high demand parts and accessories starting to get very scarce.”
These factors have resulted in RV-related stocks experiencing rapid
growth and sky-high share prices.
Shares of Camping World, which offers services, products and
resources for RV owners, have increased by more than 338 percent since
April. Likewise, shares of Winnebago Industries climbed by more than
80 percent between April and July. Thor Industries, an RV maker that
owns many of the most well-known brands, saw a 117 percent increase
in share price over the same period.
It may not be a great time to purchase RV-related stocks, however.
“I fully expect the popularity of RVs to continue until the pandemic
is mostly behind us but then I expect demand will return to more tra-ditional
levels,” says Adam Jones, chair of the Economics and Finance
Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. “Prices
may actually dip after the pandemic as many will buy RVs this sum-mer
and then sell them next summer when the world is more open.
However, many will find RV travel enjoyable and keep them, thus
demand for RV sites at campgrounds is likely to spike this summer
and be lower next year but still remain elevated compared to pre-pan-demic
levels for a few years.” — By Fritts Causby