More than 600 individuals representing over 200 marine dealerships gathered in New Paris, Ind., last week to attend Smoker Craft Inc.’s 2016 dealer meeting.
A diverse range of new product offerings across its fiberglass, aluminum and pontoon product lines led to the largest dealer event in the company’s history, as the parent company to Smoker Craft, Starcraft, Sylvan, Sunchaser and Starweld displayed a total of 178 boats at its expansive manufacturing facility. A further 22 more boats were available for on-water sea trials on nearby Lake Wawasee. Spreading the dealers into two separate groups, who arrived two days apart, allowed Smoker Craft Inc. staff to spend more time with individual dealers and reduced congestion on the docks for those enjoying sea trials under perfect summer weather.
During the company’s annual business meeting, vice president of sales Phil Smoker noted that Smoker Craft’s sales performance over the past 12 months has outpaced the recreational boating industry overall.
“Our growth in the pontoon market has been double the industry average,” said Smoker. “We’ve also outpaced the industry average in our fiberglass and aluminum product categories. A lot of the credit for that has to go to our dealers. With their hard work and dedication to the brands, we’ve been able to maintain steady and superior growth.”
A number of the dealers were recognized with sales performance awards. Ed Vernum, Forest Fisheries, Homer, N.Y., was presented with the Harold A. Schrock Cornerstone Award for the 2015 model year, while the Byron Smoker Excellence Award was presented to Skipper Bud’s, with 23 US locations.
The company also recognized its top 20 corporate dealers for the 2015 model year, including 61 Marine & Sports, Hastings, Minn.; 66 Marine North, Crosslake, Minn.; Astor Marine, Astor, Fla.; Bretz RV & Marine, Missoula, Mont.; Buzz’ Marine Supply, Kearney, Neb. ; Keith’s Marina, West Bend, Wisc.; Lakeside Motor Sports, Mecosta, Mich.; Lake of the Woods Marine, Locust Grove, Va.; Lincolnton Marine, Lincolnton, Ga.; Link Recreational, Minong, Wisc.; Loon Lake Marina, Chestertown, N.Y.; Marine Management, Edmonton, Alberta; Gregg Orr Marine, Texarkana, Texas; Skipper Bud’s (numerous locations); Spicer’s Boat City, Houghton Lake, Mich.; Steven’s Marine, Tigard and Milwaukie, Ore.; The Boat Kings, Pompano Beach, Fla.; Tim Castellaw Motor Sports, Dyersburg, Tenn.; Towne Marine, Bloomsburg, Penn.; Tru-North RV, Auto & Marine, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Apart from new product introductions and the annual business meeting, the company presented a popular workshop on digital marketing, along with a presentation by U.S. Air Force major Dan Rooney on his Folds of Honor initiative to provide scholarships for the children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to America. Tours of the company’s recently-completed 90,000 square-foot addition to the pontoon manufacturing plant were popular with visiting dealers, as were displays from a range of vendor partners.