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Here's an industry millennials are not killing: RV sales in Colorado

Posted: 9:59 PM, May 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-25 01:03:02-04

DENVER -- The great Memorial Day weekend getaway is already underway, and you may have noticed how many Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are hitting our Colorado roads. But you may be surprised by who is in them.

Millennials are joining baby boomers to fuel a major surge in RV sales in Colorado and across the country.

Not far from the rush of downtown Denver, in Cherry Creek State Park, Julie Mendoza and her young family are spending Memorial Day weekend slowing down in nature... but not exactly roughing it.

"It's just great family time. And I did not grow up a camper," said Mendoza, who has owned a camper with her husband and daughter for more than four years. "We don't spend a lot of money, but we get to be together and have fun."

The RV industry is booming in Colorado, generating $311.1 million and creating more than 2,760 jobs, according to a study published in 2017 by The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Andrew Irvine with Ketelsen Campers of Colorado said dealership sales are up 35 percent since 2015, as more Baby Boomers retire, but also as more young people look for new experiences.

He said Millennials are especially interested in the less-expensive fold-out campers and small travel trailers.

"They want small, lightweight. They have small SUVs that get better gas mileage, so they want lightweight so they can tow these small travel trailers, kind of everything you need and nothing you don't," said Irivine, who has noticed many want to disconnect completely, going off-grid (a.k.a Boondocking) with no power or water.

Even at "Casa Mendoza" at Cherry Creek State Park, Julie and her family put down the technology.

"For the most part, we leave our phones inside because we're worried about getting them messed up. So, it's nice," she said, pointing out there's nothing like making memories the old-fashioned way. "If you put in the effort when your kids are little, it's going to build good traditions with your family."