Strong Sales, Crowds At Mid-Canada Boat Show

Strong sales and robust crowds rewarded exhibitors at the Mid-Canada Boat Show, held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre from March 3 to 6 inclusive.

“The building was fully stocked,” says Show Manager, Jim Flood. “We would have had to use a shoehorn to squeeze in any more product. With the concern about the recession passed in Manitoba, people are ready to start boating again.”

“We still have some numbers to tabulate, but attendance appears to have increased by about four or five percent over 2010,” says Margaret Ireland. That would put the total gate in the 16,500 to 17,000 range.

Most of the Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario dealers exhibiting their models at 2011 Mid-Canada Boat Show shared Flood's enthusiasm about this year's show and reported good results.

Wally Wusowicz, Sales Manager for Supreme Boats, reports that his company's products sold very well at this year's show. “We put in a lot of hard work,” he says, “and it paid off. The traffic was very good at the show. Every booth on the floor seemed to be doing well.

Avo Marine's Larry Wadge also reports a good show. “We did a lot better than last year,” says the Winnipeg-based Lund and Larson boat dealer.

For Dave Amey, sales manager for Enns Brothers Power Sports in Winnipeg, the 2011 Mid-Canada Boat Show was his best ever. “It was absolutely fantastic,” he says. “We had record sales.”

Both Dennis Rondeau, president of Winnipeg-based Rond's Marine Ltd., and Greg Alcock, sales manager for Woodlake Marine (based in Kenora, ON) report that their sales at this year's show surpassed last year's totals.

Aluminum boats were the top sellers for several dealers. Woodlake Marine however did sell eight high end glass boats during the show and Winnipeg Sport and leisure sold four.

But not all exhibitors reported record sales. Mike Gilmour, President of Winnipeg Sport and Leisure, says that this year's sales were close to those of 2010 for his dealership. Luke Legault, of Luke's Town Service, said  “The attendance wasn't as good as we were expecting. “While there were a lot of people out on the Saturday, the other days were pretty quiet for us.”

“There was interest,” adds Lakeway Marine's Neil Fewchuk. “But not a lot of people were prepared to open their wallets. We are hoping that many of the people who took home our brochures will read them and will call us in the next few weeks.”

Woodlake Marine's Alcock reports that his dealership has taken on some new lines this year –including Crisscraft, Ranger and Thunder Jet. Winnipeg Sport and Leisure has added the Cobalt line – while Rond's Marine is now carrying South Bay pontoons which, Dennis Rondeau reports, have been very well received. Luke's Town Service introduced its new line of John Boat pontoons at the Winnipeg show.

Most dealers are looking forward to a good year ahead. “If our results at the show are a sign of things to come,” says Dave Amey, “then it's going to be a wonderful year.”

– Myron Love