Archive for » January 25th, 2018«

Vancouver International Boat Show battles elements with sales, attendance

The 56th annual Vancouver International Boat Show came to an end on Sunday, Jan. 21, forecasting yet another strong year for the boating industry in the province.

Western Canada’s largest boat show’s attendance numbers at both the indoor show at BC Place and the Floating Show at Granville Island are reported at 28,739 at the 2018 show, compared to 30,435 from the previous year.

“Despite the extreme weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds over the weekend, which caused considerable challenges for guests to attend, all indications over the five days suggest that a strong year lies ahead for the recreational marine industry in BC,” said Eric Nicholl, show manager of the Vancouver International Boat Show. “The addition of The Pavilion to our indoor venue at BC Place, and expanded marina display at Granville Island, made this year’s show the biggest on record. With the trends we are seeing, it appears that the fast-approaching boating season will be a strong one.”

Advance tickets, and online E-ticket sales, were the highest recorded in show history, up 12 percent from 2017, however the redemption rate reflected that over 1,100 E-tickets were not redeemed onsite due to weather-related challenges.

Metro Vancouver experienced extreme weather alerts issued by Environment Canada on several show days, including severe rain and high winds; BC Ferries was also forced to cancel several sailings due to dangerous conditions, and numerous areas surrounding the City of Vancouver suffered power outages throughout the weekend.

Despite the less than ideal conditions, the attendance remained steady with serious buyers and strong sales reported by the majority of exhibitors.

“The 2018 Show has been outstanding. Our new products have gone over very well and received a lot of attention, including the new 46-foot Sundancer and Chris Craft product line,” said Bob Pappajohn, president of MP Mercury Sales Ltd.

“The first four days of the Boat Show were exceptional, with lots of local buyers looking for the latest products,” said Salim Ladha, senior vice president and partner at Steveston Marine Hardware. “The B.C. market is looking very strong for marine products going into 2018.”

With over 125 combined speakers and presentations, visitors found that there was truly something for everyone at this year’s Vancouver International Boat Show.

Dates for the 57th Vancouver International Boat Show are scheduled for Jan. 16 – 20, 2019. at BC Place and Granville Island.

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BUSINESS BEAT: Lavalette business named one of boating industry’s top dealers

LAVALETTE, W.Va. – The Great Outdoors Marine in Lavalette recently received national recognition for the quality of its boat dealership.

“We are proud to have been named one of boating industry’s top 100 dealers in North America, for the sixth year in a row,” said Diane Daniel with The Great Outdoors Marine.

The Great Outdoors Marine is owned and operated by Phil and Diane Daniel. They have been in business since 1991, and have 21 employees.

“We are the largest marine dealer in West Virginia, and specialize in pontoon and fishing boat sales, and service on boats and motors,” Diane Daniel said.

She said the award was presented to the business at the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, in December.

“Our team at The Great Outdoors Marine continues to achieve high levels of customer care and satisfaction,” she added. “We are very thrilled and proud to be recognized on a national level with these honors and will continue to work hard to improve our business.”

The Great Outdoors Marine was also named the sixth best dealer in the U.S. for Tracker Marine, Daniel added.

RUE21: Rue21 will reopen following its complete remodel and relocation near TJ Maxx at Ashland Town Center.

The retailer will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, and hand out free giveaways to the first 100 customers.

Ashland Town Center is located at 500 Winchester Ave. in Ashland, Kentucky. For more information, visit

eBUS: The Fifth Third Bank Financial Empowerment Mobile, the eBus, is coming to Huntington and will be open to the community.

The first stop will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Huntington West Virginia Housing Authority, 300 7th Ave. W.

On Friday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the eBus will be at The Results Companies, located at 1102 3rd Ave., Suite 300 in Huntington.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the eBus will be at Goodwill Retail Donation Center and Goodwill Career Center at 1005 Virginia Ave. in Huntington.

The 40-foot bus, retro-fitted as a mobile classroom, is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology. It is staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations.

Fifth Third is partnering with the United Way of the River Cities, Huntington WV Housing Authority, The Results Company, and Goodwill Industries Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs to also offer free tax filing services.

Once onboard, visitors will be able to request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive personalized evaluation of finances; receive Internet banking and bill payment demonstrations; speak with nonprofit organizations regarding housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; conduct online job searches; and complete state and federal tax filings.


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On the block: While Boston Whaler grows, Sea Ray awaits its fate – Daytona Beach News

Flagler plant manager, workers ‘hopeful’ as Sea Ray sale looms

It’s full steam ahead at the Sea Ray Boats plant in Flagler County, even as the prospect of new ownership clouds the horizon.

While Boston Whaler employees celebrated the beginning of a $42-million expansion project in Edgewater last week, workers at the Sea Ray Boats facility in Palm Coast are focused on getting the new year off to a strong start.

The two boat manufacturing companies owned by Mettawa, Illinois-based Brunswick Corp. are facing different futures after Brunswick officials announced plans in December to sell the Sea Ray division.

Boston Whaler President Nick Stickler said during the Jan. 16 groundbreaking that the boat builder is “more than a boat company” and the Boston Whaler brand “represents possibilities.” The expansion is expected to create between 50 and 100 new jobs at the Edgewater plant and follows a 60,000-square-foot expansion in 2015.

Fifty miles to the north, Sea Ray plant manager Tim Singley said the 440 employees there are focused on “starting fresh” after an annual two-week shutdown at the end of December.

“Overall, folks are very positive,” Singley said. “They think with this change comes great opportunity. We are waiting to hear more news, as everyone else is, as we progress with the sale.”

Amanda Waldman, a front-line electrician at the Flagler County plant, said she hopes the sale of Sea Ray will lead to bigger and better things for the manufacturing facility.

“We kind of saw it coming,” she said of the impending sale. “There had been a lot of rumors. It doesn’t really worry us because a company like Sea Ray is not going anywhere.”

Brunswick spokesman Daniel Kubera said the sale process is moving forward but he declined to identify any potential buyers.

“We have had good inbound interest from a number of potential buyers and are working through the process with our investment bankers,” he said. “With the holidays and that expected lull behind us, the sale process is proceeding on track and should be completed sometime in the first half of 2018 as we anticipated.”

Kubera said the expansion project at Boston Whaler reflects Brunswick’s ongoing commitment to its Boat Group, and that includes Sea Ray.

“That (ground-breaking) ceremony is indicative of the investments we continue to make in our Boat Group, investments that have continued at all brands, including Sea Ray,” he said. “Our continued investments in process, plants, products and other facets of our operations is one of the reasons Sea Ray is so desirable. It has a strong brand, good products, good momentum and some of the most up-to-date product development and manufacturing capabilities in the marine industry.”

That “momentum” will be on display Feb. 15-19 at the Miami International Boat Show, one of the premier marine showcases of the year. Singley said the Flagler County Sea Ray plant will be well-represented in Miami.

“We do Miami and Fort Lauderdale every year,” he said. “Folks at the plant here are involved with both. We will have folks on-site at the Miami show.”

The pending Sea Ray sale comes at a time when boating industry professionals in general are brimming with optimism. The National Marine Manufacturers Association is projecting up to a 6 percent increase in sales in 2018 after a strong showing last year.

“Those of 2017 marked our sixth consecutive year of growth in new boat sales and recreational boating expenditures and we expect that trend to continue through 2018 and possibly beyond,” association President Thom Dammrich said in a recent email. “On the horizon, if economic indicators remain favorable to the recreational boating market with strong consumer confidence, a healthy housing market, rising disposable income and consumer spending and historically low interest rates, the outlook is good for boat sales.”

The passage of the tax reform package also bodes well for the Sea Ray sale, according to Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida.

“I think the tax law is going to catalyze a lot of transactions,” Snaith said. “The reduction on corporate income tax is going to create an incentive to invest here in the United States instead of abroad, and the provision of the law that allows for repatriation of profits currently held overseas could represent a second source of significant capital to invest here domestically.”

As far as the sale’s impact on local employees, plant manager Singley said the company is meeting regularly with employees to keep them apprised.

“Whatever we know, we’ll put out there in front of folks,” he said. “The company is good at getting back to us and the town hall format we are setting up is to try to keep the rumors down.”

Waldman, the electrician, said the efforts at transparency and openness regarding the sale are a positive.

“They are also offering retention bonuses to keep morale up,” she said. “For the most part, everybody’s hopeful.”

Staff writer Jim Abbott contributed to this report.


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