Most years we start out in Tampa, Florida for the Tampa RV Super Show. This is one of the biggest RV shows of the year and it is a nice way to start our business off for the year. The other thing that is great about this is that my brother Jeff lives in Tampa, and the College Football National Championship game is in January. Since we are big Alabama fans, this means most years we can watch our team in the big game together, or at least until Saban retires. 🙂 Well, we set off for Tampa on January 6th. It took 2 days to get there, so we spent our first night in Walmart for 2018. You’ve never lived until you spend the night in a Walmart parking lot, let me tell you. But, it’s free! Well, except for the $140 we spent in the store. Does that count?
Once we arrived in Tampa, we stayed at LazyDays. Since we bought our RV from there, we are members of the Crown Club. This gives us the ability to park in a special area with beautiful big trees. Only motorhomes that cost a certain amount can be in the “club,” so it’s always fun to walk around and look at the RVs staying there. There are some pretty intense motorhomes out there that make our Phaeton look weak. It doesn’t take long to realize we were on the low end of the required purchase amount. 🙂 One of the first nights we were there, Jeff and Denise took us out to eat. It’s always good to see Denise and Jeff and the kids. Traveling has allowed us to see them a couple times a year now, and that has been awesome. Before the RV, we may have seen them once every 5-6 years, if that.
When game day came, it was a big party at Jeff’s house. Alabama versus Georgia for all the marbles. The game was intense from the beginning, with Alabama getting blown out in the first half, only to come back and win in overtime. Although Alabama did not take the lead until the last play of the game, the end result was just what we were looking for. To say it was a stressful game is an understatement, and Tami captured one of the many moments of pain, (although she thought she was recording what would be the winning play).
While we were in Tampa we got our yearly service work done at Lazy Days. The yearly service work and random warranty issues usually takes an entire week. The real issue with this is what do we do with Lincoln all day. So basically we get a hotel room for the week just so we have somewhere to go with Lincoln during the day. He would be a nightmare to drive around in the Jeep with all day. The older he has gotten the more particular he is about his environment. At this point Lincoln is blind, and can’t hear either, so if he is not in the RV he tends to be a little nervous. Luckily, this is a once a year thing, and he is rarely alone in the RV at all…just like he likes it.
With the service work completed and a National Championship under our belt it was time for the Tampa RV Super Show. It is always a bit nerve racking to estimate how much inventory to buy for these big shows. Often times we will spend $30,000 or more on inventory (hence the incredible number of credit card points), and then sweat it out on whether or not we will be able to sell it all. I would always rather under order than over order and have to load inventory back in the RV. I have made that mistake a few times and it is not pleasant. This year was the our biggest Tampa show yet though, and we pretty much sold everything we brought, had more inventory overnighted to us, and had to start entering orders on our website for shipment! Not a bad way to start the year. 🙂 Overall, Tampa was a great show! We always get to see old RV friends, and meet new ones. This year we won the award for Best Vendor booth in the entire show from a blogger called Paris to Roam. They said we were the vendor that spent the most time explaining things to customers and really took the time with people, regardless of whether they were buyers or not. That felt good to hear. We did get to meet a lot of our customers that we do business with online, but never have met. We also got to see customers who we have grown to call friends, and spent some time with fellow vendors which is always fun. It’s always fun to meet our customers and hear positive things about our newsletter and the service we offer. We try really hard in that area and it’s nice to see that it matters.
Well, we ended January in Tuscaloosa to do some more training and planning with Tyler. January was very good to us, and we look forward to a great February.