First Marine Retail University a success

Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Dominion Marine Media
October 31, 2012
Filed under News

Press Release

MINNEAPOLIS – The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Dominion Marine Media announced today that the first-ever Norman-Spencer Marine Retail University was a resounding success.

Held in San Antonio on Oct. 21-22, the MRU event attracted 61 total attendees for the two-day event, which featured a networking riverboat cruise and dinner, as well as a full day packed with six educational sessions.

“From start to finish, our first MRU was a huge hit,” says Courtney Chalmers, Marketing Director of Dominion Marine Media, which co-produces the event with the MRAA. “The networking event gave the attendees an excellent opportunity to connect with one another in a relaxed environment before we got down to the business of MRU on Monday.”

The educational line-up was packed full of opportunities for the attendees. It kicked off with GE Capital’s Kevin Runnells providing insight into the trends affecting today’s economy and an outlook for the marine industry’s path over the next 12-24 months. Tom Walworth of Statistical Surveys followed with a detailed analysis of the sales trends in various Texas markets before MRAA President Matt Gruhn wrapped up the morning of market insights with a presentation on some of the leading trends dealers are following as the industry approaches 2013.

That afternoon, Shane Pierce of Dominion Enterprises provided an entertaining overview of how to sell to the various generations in today’s market place, and Chalmers followed with an insightful presentation on how dealers can improve their digital marketing efforts. The event wrapped up as three experts from the lending sector — Ken Chambers of Texas Partners Federal Credit Union, Michael Bryant of Trident Funding Corp. and the National Marine Bankers Association, and Jared Zimlin of Priority One Financial Services — discussed ways that dealers could increase the odds of getting their customers financed.

“With six strong sessions, the attendees of this event were delivered more than we promised,” Gruhn explains. “We were thrilled with how smoothly this first MRU event progressed, and we are looking forward to working the Boating Trades Association of Texas on the 2013 MRU.”

Attendees were also given a first look at products and services that were unveiled for the first time ever by MRU’s partners and supporters. Dominion Marine Media’s Boat Trader brand introduced its all-new Dealer Market Index; Norman-Spencer Marine Insurance was on-hand to discuss its products, and particularly its AquaPac Dealer Revenue program, which it has taken nationwide over the last year; Statistical Surveys introduced a brand new marine product it calls its Dealer Area Report; and Marine Five Star Dealer Certification was on-hand to discuss the beginning of its plans for a revamped certification program.

“We are extremely happy with the way this entire event came together,” says Rick Smith, owner of Marine Outlet and president of the Boating Trades Association of Texas. “From the improved attendance we had over last year’s event to the support of the speakers and exhibitors, it was a big success all the way around.”

The next Marine Retail University event will be held Nov. 10-11 in Orlando, the day leading up to the opening of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. It will be held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, and more information can be found at


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