Some good news from the front lines

boat dealers
Alberta Marine restarted boat storage after seeing a significant drop in off-season service business soon after ending it. Last year was the company’s most profitable year for service.
By David Gee

A colleague who works as the editor at a sister publication recently went boat shopping to replace an aging pontoon at the family lake cabin. Since we are all hungry for news about “what it’s like out there” I thought I would share some of the anecdotes from his experience at the first dealer he went to.

He told me his first surprise came when he pulled into the parking lot.

“The place was jumping,” he said, and “the customer lot was nearly full on this particular Saturday and there were people everywhere.”

Once inside, the salesperson they met took them through the used selection in their price range, and then said they could also use that money on a down payment towards a new boat, payments would be cheap, etc., etc.

While this back and forth was going on, my co-worker asked how business has been for the dealership this spring.

He replied, “It’s been crazy – April was a brand-new, all-time record month for us. Last April was our best April ever, and this April blew away last April,” he said. “And May has been even crazier – it’ll be another record month for sure.”

The salesperson then went on to speculate that people aren’t spending money on a cruise, a Disney trip, European vacation and didn’t go anywhere for spring break, and they are now willing to put that money towards a boat.

“They are anxious for leisure time,” he continued, “in many or most cases they can’t hang out at their favorite bar or restaurant, their adult softball leagues are shut down for the summer, their kids’ sports activities are cancelled, neighborhood pools are going to stay closed and on and on.

“So why not be on the water? It’s healthy fun for the whole family, you can still social distance and just have some conversations that don’t include the word coronavirus. We all need a break and there’s no better place to get it than on a boat.”

Well said. And those are the types of things we are hearing from dealers all across the country.

We hope the news is similarly good where you are. If you have your own stories from the front lines you would like to share, send us a note.

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