We arrived at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds about 10:30 am Sunday 8/12 after a rigorous 17 mile trip. We got backed into our full hook up site on Harley Hill and got mostly set up and then had a quick lunch (cheese, sausage, crackers) before heading over to the vendor hall to get registered and to set up our booth.
We got most everything ready to go but forgot our PTB sign and a couple of other small clerical items. Plus Michael needed a hub & rotor to use for our display. No biggie as we just got everything finished up Monday morning before the vendor hall opened at 9:00 am.
We spent the rest of the afternoon finishing getting the coach snuggled in (set up the satellite dish), did some laundry and worked on getting our flyers ready for the week.
The FROG rally is a VERY large rally with anywhere from 625 – 800 rigs in attendance. Forest River covers the gambit of RVs – 5th wheels, travel trailers, Class As, Class Cs, etc. And brands include Cardinal, Cedar Creek, R-Pod, Georgetown, Wolf Pack, Rockwood, Riverstone, etc etc etc. We only had three kits pre-sold before the rally and sold another the day we arrived.
Monday was our first day manning our booth in the vendor hall. Hours were 9-4 and the second the clock struck 9:00 we were busy! Yikes! We had lots of people stop by with questions and sold 3 kits in the first few hours.
While I ‘womaned’ the booth Michael did a bunch of running around at various points…finding a customer axle order that was delivered last week, checking out an order we received from our warehouse, running to the office to pick up mail and pay for our stay, running lug nuts over to the installer, picking up our lunch from the vendor lunch area.
On top of all that…it was Monday and we had our normal very busy day with our regular customers calling and emailing and needing assistance with this or that. Then we were also fielding questions from our RV dealer in Texas regarding our possible new coach order. Whew! Talk about an exhausting day.
However, the day ended on a great note as we met Heartland friends Jim & Nancy and Dan & Karen for dinner at Heinnie’s in Elkhart. It was prime rib night so 5 of the 6 of us ordered that while Michael, who’s not big on prime rib, went with a filet. Dinner was delicious but spending time with friends we don’t see often enough was even better.
Tuesday was a much more manageable day. Although we still had some running around to do. Dexter picked up some axles that were double shipped and Michael had to meet them and help them get loaded. He also had his seminar at noon which was actually pretty sad in my opinion…he had about 7 attendees and considering that there are over 600 rigs here…wow…that’s kinda underwhelming.
The factory tours started on Tuesday so more seasoned vendors were saying that that was part of the reason for the downshift in customer traffic. And that turned out to be pretty accurate. While we still had plenty of visitors to the booth the times when tours were going on definitely had less traffic.
Forest River offered vendors a chance to purchase a ‘packet’ of lunch tickets for $50. Five tickets good for lunch each day of the vendor days. We purchased two packets and it turned out to be a great idea. The food was provided by Nelson’s who caters our Heartland rallies and the food was very good. We had a variety of meals – pulled pork sandwiches, bbq ribs, chicken, tacos & fajitas and smoked sausage. Each meal was accompanied by tasty sides – green bean casserole, strawberry & pecan salad, baked beans, cole slaw, refried beans, rice, etc. Plus we received dessert and a drink.
It worked out well, in that, in the evenings we just had a light dinner – frozen pizza, soup, sandwich, etc.
Wednesday after vendor hours (9-4) Michael took most of the remaining items that needed to be installed over to John (mostly MorRyde) items while I finished up a little paper/computer work at home. Then we spent the rest of the night relaxing…something we hadn’t really been able to do up until the point. It was very nice. 🙂
It started raining late Wednesday night and Thursday was overcast, drippy and foggy all day long. It had been hot and humid all week so that help bring the temps down a bit but it was still pretty humid. Thankfully the building we were in had large garage doors on each end that were left open and lots of overhead fans going that helped move the air around a bit.
Friday morning we received a surprise visit from our Dexter sales rep, Randy. He hung out with us a bit, went over some upcoming changes and even went with Michael to deliver some parts to the installer. We’ll being getting together at some point so Michael can see how they bench test the Brakerite actuator so that Michael can better understand the process so that he can better help customers troubleshoot any issues they may be having.
The vendor hall closed at 1:00 pm on Friday and we were lucky enough to be able to pack our stuff up and just store it in a corner of the hall so that it’s there when it comes time to set up for the next rally…the Grand Design National rally which starts August 27th. We were done tearing down and were on our way home by about 2:00 pm.
The rally officially ended on Saturday and we watched lots of attendees as well as vendors pull out of the fairgrounds headed to their next destinations.
Saturday was a quiet one for us. Michael suggested I take a ‘jammie day’ and who am I to turn him down!? I did minimal work and enjoyed watching a ‘Jesse Stone’ marathon on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. While I lounged inside, Michael did his favorite thing outside…he putzed…you know…he pulled things out of the basement, sorted through them and then put them back inside again…all while watching the basement TV.