The consensus among dealers exhibiting at the Mid-Canada Boat Show, held March 4 to March 7 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, was that that the 2010 show was a lot better than last year.
Jim Flood, Show Manager for the Mid-Canada Boat Show, reports that sales were up overall by close to 20 percent. “There was a stronger demand for aluminum boats this year,” he says. “Two-thirds of the boats that were sold were aluminum models.”
He attributes that to the fact that aluminum boats are usually used as work boats or fishing boats and aren't affected by the rain. Since there was a lot of rain last summer, people are holding off on the fibreglass models.
“It was a great show,” says Greg Alcock, sales manager for Woodlake Marine, based in Kenora, ON. “It was the best show we have attended since 2004. After last year's poor summer, people are excited about the prospects for this year.” Alcock reports that Woodlake's Lund boat and Sea-Doo watercraft sales were up at this year's show, and that the company's Boston Whaler line also drew a good response from attending consumers.
“This year's show is a good kick-off to the season,” notes Wally Wusowicz, sales manager for Supreme Boats, Blumenort, MB. “It was nice to have good weather for the show. We sold a lot of boats and also have some strong leads to follow up.” Wusowicz decries the economic gloom and doom around. “You're not going to worry about your portfolio while you're floating on your boat,” he says.
Larry Wadge, of Winnipeg's Avo Marine, reports that he and his sales team sold four units at the show. “It is so much nicer having an early spring,” he says, “When the water starts running in the streets, people start thinking about their boats and cottages.”
Dave Amey, sales manager for Enns Brothers Power Sports in Winnipeg, also reports strong show sales. “There was a big difference over last year,” he says. “Customers were in a positive, optimistic mood.”
While Dennis Rondeau, of Rond's Marine in Winnipeg, also found a lot more interest this year, he notes that the mood among customers was more wait-and-see than buy immediately. “People seemed to be a little more careful, a little more discriminating,” he says. Rondeau adds that getting financing is also still tougher than it used to be.
This year's show filled three floors of the Winnipeg Convention Centre packed with hundreds of boats ranging from kayaks and canoes, personal watercraft, inflatables, pontoon party boats and pleasure cruisers. Among new models that were introduced at this year's show was Supreme Boats' Glastron line, which attracted a lot of interest.
Enns Brothers showed off its new Campion runabouts. “We had Campion President Brock Elliott, and Phil Smoker, Starcraft's Vice-President of Corporate Sales, visit us at the show,” says Dave Amey.
Also new to the show was Harbercraft district sales manager Kevin Linkletter, who flew in from Vernon, BC. Harbercraft is being carried by Winnipeg's Hillside Power Products. “This is the first time that we are selling Harbercraft in this market,” Linkletter says. “It was a really good show. I was very impressed with the turnout. We and Hillside are very excited about Harbercraft's prospects going into the spring.”