Starting off on a good note, the first annual 1000 Islands Boat Show, held at the former Collins & Aikman facility in Gananoque, ON, March 26 to 28, reported good sales and attendance.
While the boat show is new to Gananoque, Show Organizer and Manager, Lindsey Foster previously organized the Kingston Boat Show, in 2008 and 2009.
Overall attendance this year's 1000 Islands Boat Show was reported at slightly more than 6,000 visitors, a little higher than the attendance at the Kingston Boat Show last year.
“It think it was a major success,” says Foster. “We questioned whether people would come to Gananoque and they did. Not only did we attract people from Kingston, Napanee and Belleville, we got a large contingent from north and east like Brockville, Prescott and Ottawa. People made the trip from places where they may not have if it were still in Kingston. Moving to a bigger facility and holding the show at a better time of year for our exhibitors paid off.”
Last year, the Kingston show was held April 17 to 19, a time Foster found that some of her potential customers were too busy to exhibit.
North Country Marine, Inverary, ON, is one such example. This year, the boat dealer brought 11 units to the show from three of the brands it carries including, Glastron, Legend and Triumph. According to Co-Owner Wayne Gordon, it was the show's timing that helped convince him to participate as an exhibitor. “Lindsey's previous Kingston show in April occurred during our busy time, so when we heard that this new show would be in March, we were much more eager to exhibit.”
Gordon was pleased with how he made out at the show and with show management's professionalism throughout. “The show was great for us, we sold many boats and met people who traveled all the from the Kingston and Ottawa areas,” says Gordon. “The show was also well organized. We we're impressed with how smoothly move-in and move-out were as well as the badges and how the show was advertised. We will be returning next year.”
In addition to boat dealers and retailers, the show also featured a Gananoque Pavilion featuring exhibitors from local area businesses, marinas, non-profit organizations and our accommodation partners, a segment of the show Foster hopes will grow in the future. The addition of the pavilion brought the number of exhibitors at the show to slightly more than 70. “We had upwards of 40 to 50 boating exhibitors and the rest were the Gananoque contingent,” says Foster.