ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) The pandemic has many people looking at new ways to vacation. With fewer choosing to travel by plane, book a cruise, or visit a crowded resort, RV dealers are seeing a growth in people looking to hit the open road.
Howard Smith says he already has a camper, but when he stopped at TC's RV in St. Albans on Monday, the Milton man was looking to upgrade for the summer. "This one here caught my eye," Smith said. "Nice little camper."
TC's Tom carpenter says business shut down for a few weeks at the start of the pandemic but since then it has been booming for RV sales. "It's had a renewed spirit and vigor and people have wanted to camp," he said.
As questions remain about what can open -- and when -- for travel and recreation activities In Vermont, RV parks are 100% open. Carpenter says he has seen people looking for upgrades and first time buyers. "We have seen more spontaneous buying then we have in years and years," he said.
Over in Williston, Todd McGinnis at Pete's RV Center says they are also seeing a boost in interest. "Just never seen it this busy to be honest with you," he said.
McGinnis says people tend to not want to travel by plane or stay at hotels during the pandemic so they are turning to other options. "With an RV, you can sanitize it and it's your home basically on the road, so I think people are feeling a lot more safe in them," he said.
RVs can be a huge investment with some units costing tens-of-thousand of dollars. McGinnis says people are making the investment with payment plans, and that even stimulus checks have been a boost for some that were on the fence. "Not only for the business, but giving people some extra money, whatever they want to enjoy," he said.
And as more people drive in to pick up their RV, McGinnis says if you are thinking about one for the summer, act fast. "We are running out of inventory believe it or not. Manufacturers shut down like everyone else so the supply chain is very low," he said.
Back in St. Albans, customers like Howard Smith agree. "To me, it's the best way to travel and camp," he said.