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Why it’s good to be Sea Ray

Cynthia Trudell says it’s good to be Sea Ray. Why? In part because Sea Ray is owned by boating behemoth Brunswick Corp. Two years ago, the former president of General Motors’ Saturn division left the automotive industry to join Brunswick as the president of the Sea Ray Group. "The industry was ripe for change," she says, commenting on her attraction ...

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Marinas maintain

For marina operators, 2003 was what many would call a stable year. Because marinas are “downstream from the buying decision,” they weren’t hit as hard by the recession as boat builders and dealers, according to Jim Frye, executive director of the Marina Operators Association of America. This stability is reflected in the results of the 2004 Boating Industry Marina Survey. ...

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Collective power

More than ever, the builders within each of the groups are sharing knowledge with each other – especially when it comes to new technology and manufacturing techniques. In addition, the buying groups actively encourage their members to form close relationships with their suppliers. The American Boatbuilders Association, for example, is pursuing two initiatives – one on the technology front and ...

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Independents’ Day

Consolidation. For years, industry pundits have warned of a dark day when this common business reality would rear its head in the boat building market. Rising consumer expectations, technological advancements, increasing regulations and stagnant capitalization would put myriad small boat builders out of business, leaving a handful of boat building behemoths, they predicted. So far, that just hasn’t happened. In ...

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You Gotta Believe

Jerry Coates beams with pride as he shows off his new facility. The 63-year-old RV dealer can’t help compare his new 25,000-square-foot facility, affectionately dubbed “Coates Country,” with his dilapidated old building. The Coates family invested more than $2.5 million on the 7.5-acre property, and its cabin-style appearance has already lured in many new customers. The result of all this ...

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Balancing Act

For more than 30 years now, brothers Ken and Jerry Larsen have been running their Waukegan, Ill.-based dealership and marina in a joint effort to continue the success their father established back in 1935. Milt Larsen passed the business on to them, and now the brothers are passing Larsen Marine onto their children. This road may not be as easy ...

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The Ultimate Hassle

No water access, no boating. It’s a simple equation, yet a fundamental fact for the marine industry. Unfortunately, it frequently gets lost in the shuffle of seemingly larger, more measurable issues — and that’s something the industry cannot afford. A simultaneous drop in government funding, increased development of waterfront property and a growing number of roadblocks to the creation of ...

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Bad Attitude

ll Steve Edwards wanted was a boat seat. In the world of boats, one wouldn’t expect a seat to be difficult to come by. One wouldn’t think it would take two months for a boat manufacturer to deliver it. Edwards surely wasn’t happy that it did. Edwards, though, isn’t your typical consumer. He knows first-hand that the dealer he ordered ...

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Stretching for Solutions

No one can explain the development of the water gene. Boaters either have it, or they don’t. Those who do are the boating industry’s most loyal customers, returning to the water year after year despite the hassles Download Stretching for Solutions they’re likely to encounter. In fact, boat dealers and manufacturers have come to rely on this mysterious gene to ...

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Dealership Consolidation Likely to Continue

It’s not too often that boat dealers are confronted with a new way to conduct business. So it really came as no surprise that, when three dealership “roll-up” firms burst onto the scene in the late 1990s, many retailers prepared to jump on the consolidation bandwagon. Years later, however, that bold and potentially profitable dream hasn’t become a reality for ...

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