On Aug. 14, partner dealerships and prospects from around North America descended on Elkhart, Ind. to attend the inaugural Barletta Pontoon Boat Dealer Meeting.
While maintaining an informal feel, the meeting offered some structure including product training, pricing and promotions discussions, and networking opportunities. One of the highlights of the three-day event was the business meeting that included a question and answer session at its conclusion.
“Attendance at the event was outstanding,” Bill Fenech, President and Co-Owner of Barletta Boat Company said. “Our team was able to spend quality, face-to-face, time with our current dealer partners and several high-caliber prospect dealerships. What was really exciting was the unexpected number of attendees in the area for other dealer meetings that came to see our product, our people, and hear our story. This all really emphasizes the need and desire for a pontoon boat manufacturer to shake things up by doing things differently...the Barletta way.”
With the release of the new E-Class (Elite) pontoon boats, the “little brother” to Barletta’s L-Class (Luxury) line, orders written at the meeting were stronger than expected, surpassing Barletta’s internal goal by a wide margin.
“The meeting was a huge success,” said Jeff Haradine, vice president of sales. “Not only in terms of commitments for the upcoming year, but in terms of the overall feel of the meeting. Really strong partnerships take years to develop - but we’ve signed great dealers and built killer relationships. What we’ve experienced over this very short period of time just can’t be duplicated by our competitors. It’s truly something special.”
With over 70 locations nationwide, Barletta’s dealer network includes over 20 dealerships representing multiple locations, recognized as Boating Industry’s Top 100 dealerships of 2017.
Until recently, Barletta had suspended signing new dealers to insure that they could adequately support their dealer partners with product. As the team reviews the model year 2019 order commitments and assigns delivery dates, Barletta may consider suspending new dealer signings again, as the production team ramps up.
“Our team focuses on doing what’s right for the relationships we are building with our dealer partners,”Fenech said. “Build hot products with quality, provide large territories, and don’t settle for less than the best customer service in the industry. Sometimes it’s as simple as returning a phone call. We treat our dealers in the same manner that we would hope to be treated; our team doesn’t know how to do it any differently than that.”
Barletta also recently announced an expansion for its sales team to serve the rapidly growing Barletta dealer network.
Led by Haradine, the Barletta sales team is a mix of both veteran marine industry experience, and sales professionals from outside the industry that share the same core value - providing industry best, excellent customer service.
“The team truly embraces the approach that Bill Fenech, our President and co-owner, brought to Barletta from his previous RV ventures...a customer-focused/dealer centric mentality,” said Haradine. “I’m thrilled with the team we’ve assembled to partner with what we believe to be the best dealer network in the industry. And it’s getting better everyday.”
Haradine brings experience from the other side of the table as a former marine dealership owner. Years of dealership experience have helped bridge the needs gap that many other manufacturers struggle with on a daily basis.
Joining Haradine are Scott Wagoner, Ryan Brandenberger, and Chris Stockbridge.
Wagoner has over 20 years of experience in the marine industry in sales, customer service, operations and management. Brandenberger comes to Barletta from the automotive industry where he was the national sales manager for an auto parts supplier. Stockbridge, the newest addition of the group brings additional veteran marine industry experience, specifically in pontoon boat sales, as the former national sales manager for an established pontoon boat brand. All are avid boaters.
Barletta Pontoon Boats entered the market with their product launch in January of 2018. Led by Fenech, an RV industry veteran of 30 years, and supported by an experienced team from around the marine industry, Barletta Pontoon Boats was awarded the 2018 NMMA Innovation Award. This annual award recognizes groundbreaking, new consumer marine products and is presented at the Minneapolis Boat Show. Barletta will be following up its overwhelmingly successful L-Class (Luxury) line with a brand new E-Class (Elite) line for MY2019.
“Our sales team has done, and continues to do an outstanding job, of building quality partnerships with the best dealers in the country,” stated Fenech. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of sales professionals to be the direct connection to our dealer partners.”