Archive for » February 8th, 2014«

USA. Reinvigorated marketing drew New sale prospects to Providence Boat Show

RIMTA’s efforts to breathe newlife into 20-Year-Old Event is a Winning Strategy

At the conclusion of the Providence Boat show, held January 31 to February 2, Rob Lyons of Ocean House Marina walked out of the show having sold six new powerboats in the 20-foot range, four to new customers he met for the first time at the show; Bill Burke of Lakeview Marine tallied nine boat sales, with eight to new customers; and Steve Arnold of MarineMax had several boat sales, all to new customers. These sales records are rich rewards for powerboat dealers who invested time and marketing dollars in this indoor show, but they tell a deeper story: that the strategy of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), the show’s new owner, to change the configuration of this 20-year-old event so it casts a wider net into the boat-buying public is working.

“As a boat dealer, that’s the reason you invest in a boat show: it’s not to go and meet with your existing customers and close deals. It’s to meet new buyers …We were definitely happy after this year’s Providence show,” said Steve Arnold, general manager of MarineMax in Warwick (R.I.).

RIMTA purchased the Providence show this fall and had only 100 days to produce the event. It was a tall order for a small organization with limited show-management experience. But RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie hired a new management team and asked the industry to work with the organization to set the bar higher.

“We set out to transform this show, which is a staple on the winter show circuit, by breathing new life into it—by adding special events and personality appearances, strengthening the sailing component, and showcasing the boating lifestyle in the Ocean State to engage existing boaters and cultivate new ones,” said Mackie. “The game plan worked, but it is much bigger than  RIMTA’s success. It is the industry’s success.”

RIMTA’s rationale for this large undertaking is two-fold: to give local industry a venue to showcase their products in a way that inspires the boating public; and to support the sustainability of the organization with an event that can help fund the marketing, workforce-development, and advocacy efforts RIMTA does on the industry’s behalf.

A total of 9,600 people attended the show, and ticket revenue was up by 20% over last year’s show. All available space was sold out early, creating a waiting list for exhibitors, and revenue from space sales was up by 15%.

Eighteen sailboat brands were among the 84 boat brands on view at the show, and sailing exhibitors were equally pleased with their show results. “The show exceeded my expectations,” said Rob Lawnsby of Narragansett Sailing.

Lawnsby jump-started his sailing-school sales for the coming season, surpassing what he tallied last year at the same time. The West Wight Potter, a 19-foot pocket cruiser he brought to the show, also generated a healthy amount of interest among families and individuals looking for an affordable way to get involved in sailing.

A new Show Pavilion—which housed special activities such as sea-to-table cooking demonstrations, visits from personalities such as America’s Cup winner Rome Kirby, and interactive activities such as surf lessons on dry land—proved to be a popular hub of the show. The H20 Zone, another new addition, showcased small one-design sailboats with experts and was a go-to destination for sailing fans. The show also featured two seminar series, on Sport Fishing and Navigation Seamanship.

Two “Boats Work for Rhode Island” areas, sponsored by Jamestown Distributors, showcased Rhode Island’s marine career–training resources—including High School programs at Chariho, Warwick and Tiverton, and trade-school courses at IYRS and the New England Institute of Technology.   

RIMTA will continue to work closely with the marine industry to improve the show; exhibitors will be surveyed this winter to gather ideas that can be incorporated into future plans for the event.  

Sponsors of the Providence Boat Show included Kellogg Marine Supply, Starkweather Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Tasca Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, and Wild Things technical outerwear

Last Updated ( Friday, 07 February 2014 )

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Mid-Atlantic Boat show is ‘bigger and better’ in Charlotte

— Boating season is coming.

And so is the biggest boat show in the Carolinas. The Mid-Atlantic Boat Show will be held Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 6-9, at the Charlotte Convention Center. It’s also expanding. The show includes an extra 45,000 square feet of space compared to last year. The show will include more than 100 vendors.

“We’ve had three boat shows and at all of them the number of visitors has been up, the boat sales are up,” said Russell Gray with Southeast Productions, which runs the show.

When the economy dipped several years ago, some boat dealers went out of business and most manufacturers cut back on production. Now the industry is seeing a rebound. A half dozen dealers, including Boat Sales of Lake Wylie, are doubling their space this year compared to last. Lake Wylie Marina has a central location, and a side spot fishing display between interactive fishing and diving exhibits.

Matt Sellhorst with Lake Wylie Marina said new additions this year include a 2014 Sea Ray 240 SunDeck outboard deck boat and Sea Ray 410 SunDancer that may be the “biggest boat at the show.” The marina is part of the Hall Marine Group, which is pooling its resources from several sites for the show.

The fishing boat display will have “saltwater fishing experts from our coastal stores and freshwater experts representing Crestliner (aluminum fishing boats), Scout Boats and Boston Whaler,” Sellhorst said.

Vic Winebarger at Boat Sales brought three boats to his first show in 2011, then six the next year and seven last year.

“Last year we sold 16,” he said. “This year we’re taking 18.”

Winebarger said shows in Toronto and Chicago are up. He’s looking at a 20 percent increase in his show investment this year, based on previous shows. And all that despite frigid and icy weather in places, including Lake Wylie where sales are up early this year compared to last.

“We’re selling boats in the snow, so that’s a good sign,” Winebarger said.

Action isn’t limited to boat dealers. Companies like Dock Masters Marine Construction make the annual trip to Charlotte in hopes of meeting all sorts of potential customers under one roof.

“Yes we are in it again this year but nothing new, just the same set up,” said owner Perry Johnston.

New this year is the Be A Diver Scuba Experience sponsored by the Divers Equipment Manufacturers Association. “Big Wave” Dave will be set up in a 15,000-gallon heated pool where guests can explore with a certified scuba instructor. Equipment is provided and the experience is free for ages 10 and older. Ages 10 and 11 must be accompanied by a parent in the pool, and ages 12-17 must have a parent nearby.

Another 4,000-gallon tank will be stocked with largemouth bass for the Bass Tubs of Oklahoma display. Bass fishing seminars will be held throughout the weekend demonstrating techniques and gear used by the pros. The display is presented by Chase Devereaux.

Guests can try their hands fishing at the Western North Carolina Trout Catfish Fishing Pond. Catfish will be added this year to the popular pond simulator. There will be a small fee to fish.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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Man accused of fraudulent boat sale


It was an arrest that took place right in the middle of the Atlantic City Boat Show yesterday.

The arrest of Tracy Blumenstein, owner of Professional Boat Sales and a man Egg Harbor Township Police have charged with issuing bad checks and theft by deception.

“So the business stole from the victim, because they told him they bought the boat for $48,000 when in fact it was close to $54,000 they actually sold the boat for,” said Detective Ray Theriault.

Police are also charging Blumenstein with issuing a bad $33,000 check.

“He had an outstanding balance on a bank loan for the boat, they were supposed to pay their balance for the boat, they were supposed to pay that balance off,” said Theriault. “A couple months later he started receiving notes from his bank that in fact, the boat had not been paid off.”

Blumenstein was back at the Atlantic City Boat Show Friday afternoon where we asked him about the charges.

“You can forward everything to my attorney,” said Blumenstein. “Just because you’re accused of a crime, doesn’t mean you are guilty. That’s my statement ok?”

We did reach out to Blumenstein’s attorney and though he could not comment about the on–going criminal investigation, he says his client maintains his innocence.

Police say they started receiving complaints in October. They say several people have come forward and the investigation into new claims is on–going.

“This is not the first victim we’ve been dealing with regarding this business throughout 2013. We’ve had several other victims come forward, this is the first resulting in charges so far to this point,” said Police.

Police say they are also investigating the company’s license to sell motor vehicles and other employees have been implicated.

As for Boat Show officials, they say they were unaware of the incident prior to the show, and that one individual does not represent the entire industry.

“Its an individual in a company, we’re trying to get it resolved, unfortunately, I really can’t comment much, although we don’t condone that type of activity,” said Show Manager, John Pritko.

The Egg Harbor Township Criminal Investigation Bureau feels that there are more victims out there and they are asking anyone with additional complaints to call them at 609- 926- 4051 or call Crime Stoppers 609- 652- 1234.

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