ASHWAUBENON, Wis. — It may be a cold and snowy day, but Jesse and Holly Koltz were more than happy to talk about camping.
They’re the owners of Hucklberry Acres Campgrounds in New London.
“When we opened up our on-line reservations to the public on Jan. 1, we’ve seen a little bit more of an increase in the reservations earlier,” Jesse Koltz said.
Between the pandemic and higher fuel costs, local outdoor activities like camping and RVing have seen a spike in interest over the past few years.
It’s an interest that doesn’t seem to be waining much, at least at places like Hucklberry Acres.
“Half our summer is already booked, which is a little bit of an increase,” Jesse Koltz said. “Normally as you get closer to May that happens, but this happened as of Jan. 1 when we opened it up to the public.”
Hucklberry Acres is one of the vendors meeting with potential customers at the Green Bay RV & Camping Expo and the Resch Expo in Ashwaubenon this weekend.
The event runs through Sunday.
Camping spots have been at a premium the last few summers. On the RV and camper side, both have been a hot — and sometimes hard-to-get — purchase.
After a record-setting sales year in 2021, the RV Industry Association said delivery of RVs settled to more worldly numbers in 2022. It was still the third best year on record.
Quietwoods RV President Steve Neville said that’s helped normalize what’s available to customers.
“Production has met demand now, so dealers are stocked up and our lots are full now,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”
While numbers may not reach the stratospheric levels of the past two years, Neville said he still sees a good sales year ahead for the Sturgeon Bay-based business.
Quietwoods has several locations throughout the eastern Wisconsin.
“There’s nothing neater than to have somebody buy a camper from us and go out on a nice trip to Yellowstone or something like that and then comeback and be excited to tell us about what they did and their experiences with the camper,” Neville said. “That’s a lot of fun. That’s a great experience to share with them.”
Hucklberry Acres recently converted several rustic sites to long-term seasonal sites that filled by the middle of last summer. Koltz says he sees new faces at the campground on a regular basis.
“Just… last year, I helped quite a few people with: ‘I just picked up a brand new camper’ and they ask, ‘Where’s my site and can you help me back it in?’” he said.