Midwest Cold Snap Can’t Keep Crowds Away
Paul Fato and his wife Judy are among the 3,575 registrants to help set a Louisville Show attendance record, the top opening day in the gathering’s 60-year history — even amid some of the coldest temperatures in decades.
The Louisville Show is organized and attended by manufactured housing professionals primarily from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. Each of those states are wrestling with temperatures near zero, with the more northerly states enduring wind chill temperatures that dip to -50.
The Fatos operate The Meadowlands manufactured home community and Twin Oaks Home Sales in West Virginia. The couple came to The Louisville Show to shop for homes, primarily for the independent dealership.
“I look for something that’s a bit different,” Paul Fato said. “There is a Commodore home with a slanted roof that I have my eye on. I’m going to be picking up one of those. And we’ll keep a lookout for other interesting features that will provide variety on the lot and something that will catch the eye of a homebuyer.”
He said 2018 was a good year, and he anticipates 2019 to match if not exceed last year’s sales. The Fatos, celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary at The Louisville Show, said they skipped an annual late year trip to Florida and had the best ever fourth quarter for sales.
“We have a very competitive market,” Paul Fato said. “There are two Clayton dealers within six miles of my retail center. But that’s good, because it brings people to the area to shop for homes.”
Louisville Show Attendance Signals an Energized Industry for 2019
“The number of attendees Wednesday morning to open the show were stronger than we’ve experienced even during the best years,” said Dennis Hill, who heads Show Ways Unlimited, which produces The Louisville Show and other manufactured housing trade shows. “Our opening education sessions were standing room only and very well received.”
The sessions – on finance, marketing and purchasing – held an audience of 200-plus attendees. Meanwhile, the other 3,300-plus professionals toured the new model homes and mingled with service and supply exhibitors.
Joe Viglione, from Fairmont Homes, said the presence of retailers among The Louisville Show attendance is stronger than he’s experienced in his three-plus decades in the business.
“Retailers tend to start showing up about 10 or 11 o’clock on opening day. This year they were here first thing. That means they came the day prior, which signals to me a great deal of enthusiasm toward purchasing this season.”
The Drive Down From Chicago
Jim Hynd, sales manager for AERT, based in Springdale, Ark., drove to Louisville from Chicago. He braved the cold to be among the record Louisville Show attendance in preparation for entering the industry.
“We’re looking to provide advanced decking and railing solutions for manufactured housing,” he said. “I’m here to take a look at what’s available now and how we might fit in.”
The Louisville Show is a manufactured housing industry trade show and is not open to the public. Attendance includes industry professionals in the areas of manufacturing, retail sales, community ownership and management, financial services and product supply.