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Smoker Craft building growth on export business

By Craig Ritchie

The international flavor at Smoker Craft’s 2018 dealer meeting was undeniable as the New Paris, Indiana-based boat manufacturer builds on its strong domestic market share with a renewed emphasis on export sales.

The company, which manufactures aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass runabouts, surf boats and pontoon boats under its Smoker Craft, Starcraft, Starweld, Sylvan and SunChaser brands, welcomed representatives from more than 250 boat dealerships worldwide to its Indiana manufacturing facility July 31 - Aug. 4. Dealers were treated to an in-depth look at the company’s 2018 model year lineups, with 159 boats on display and a further 18 in the water at a nearby lake. The result was a record dealer turnout, with some organizations bringing up to a dozen staff to the event.

In spite of the surging U.S. dollar, interest in Smoker Craft’s brands from international dealers remains strong, said senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, Peter Barrett. “The currency exchange situation over the past two years hasn’t been as favourable as anyone would like, so we’re encouraged by the more balanced rates that we’re starting to see now,” he said. “We’re also encouraged by the growing strength of the Euro as the European economy continues to rebound. Our international dealers are excited by the new product, particularly the fiberglass deck boats and the aluminum fishing boats.”

Pontoons also attracted a growing level of interest from overseas dealers, lead by the Traverse series of models in the company’s SunChaser line. With their compact dimensions and 7.5-foot beam, the Traverse models are appropriate for smaller European waterways and fit easily inside a standard shipping container.

Visiting dealers also took the opportunity to meet Adam Reed, who joined Smoker Craft earlier this year as its new sales manager for international accounts, filling a vacancy left by the recently deceased John Babbitt.

“Adam brings a new level of energy to the role and we have a lot of confidence in what he will achieve,” said Barrett. “We’re looking at some ideas and opportunities that he’s brought to the table, and we’re excited about the future.”

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