Chaparral and Robalo's 49th Annual Dealer Conference was held at the Ocean Reef Club in the Florida Keys this year. The successful gathering included over 480 attendees.
As reported on earlier, one Quebec-based and two Ontario-based dealers were recognized for their sales performance with the brand.
"We asked our staff to really think outside the box for our dealer conference this year, to provide our dealers with an experience like no other,' said Chaparral President Jim Lane. "The conference agenda and Ocean Reef Club provided us the unique experiences we were looking for.'
The event featured over 20 Chaparral and Robalo boats in the water for dealers to demo and an exciting business meeting where dealers received the latest news about the company. New to the water this year were the Chaparral H2O 21 and the 307 SSX, and the Robalo 206 Cayman and R222.
Lane provided updates on the company and the boating industry as a whole. Buck Pegg, Founder, and Mike Fafard, VP of Engineering, explained updates to the boats and introduced the 2014MY models. Pegg and Fafard also provided in-depth presentations on Chaparral's entrance into the jet boat Market.
Chaparral also enlisted the aid of four of its most successful dealers to share helpful tips with fellow dealers. Johnny Padgett of Modern Marine, Nashville, Tennessee, presented: Earning and Retaining Exceptional CSI; Phillip Foss of Destin Sunrise Marine, Mary Esther, Florida, presented: Profiting from Nationally Advertised Boats; Gary Nichols of Nichols Marine, Monkey Island, Oklahoma, presented: The Dividends of Investing in Your Boat Show; and David Lowman of The Boat Rack, Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, presented: Brand Focus and Market Share Leader.
"Each of these dealers that spoke had an interesting message and experience to share with our dealer base,' said Lane.
Chaparral also organized its first-ever Presidents Panel, made up of presidents from companies that are leading the marine industry. The panel fielded questions provided by the dealers. Topics discussed ranged from the right size of inventory dealer levels, future interest rates, grow boating funding, changing demographics, sterndrive sales increases, importance of boat shows, the role of the Internet in the consumers' buying cycles, customer satisfaction and the necessity for political involvement in our industry on the local, state and national levels.
The Presidents Panel included: Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA); Matt Gruhn, President of the Marine Retail Association of the Americas (MRAA); Ron Huibers, President of Volvo Penta Americas; Mark Schwabero, President of Mercury Marine; Ben Speciale, President of Yamaha Marine Group; and Bruce Van Wagoner, President of GE Commercial Distribution Finance Marine Group. Liz Walz of the MRAA served as the panel moderator. "To have this group of leaders in the industry assembled in one location was truly a great opportunity for our dealers,' said Lane.
The conference ended with the annual awards banquet with Key Note Speaker Mike Pilot, Chief Commercial Officer of GE capital.
Adding some fun to the event, Chaparral and Robalo hosted a fishing tournament and a golf tournament. The company also hosted unique evening events including a street party and a beach party. Fish caught during the fishing tournament was later served at the beach party.