Archive for » February 10th, 2018«

Backed by Two New Dealers, Deep Impact Bringing All Four Models to Miami

Anchoring this year’s Deep Impact Custom Boats display at the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 15-19) at Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key is the company’s newly redesigned and improved 399 Sport Open center console. The latest 399 Sport Open, which is powered by quad Mercury Marine Verado 350 engines and includes a long list of options, is the first 39-footer to incorporate the Miami-based company’s new deck design.

Deep Impact is going to have a full lineup on display in Miami, including this 399 Cabin powered by quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines. Photo courtesy Deep Impact Boats

“We will be showcasing all four models at the show this year,” said Terry Sobo, Deep Impact’s sales and marketing director. “The new 399 Sport Open incorporates our new deck design. The previous deck consisted of two pieces with a separate inner liner and then deck ring. The new model is a single piece that offers a cleaner look and fewer seams.

“In addition to a few exterior refinements, the newest version offers more cockpit storage compartments and improved seating,” he added. “There’s a rear-facing seat behind the helm seat that features a built-in fiberglass ice cooler. The rear bench seat has been redesigned and has the option for another built-in cooler, extra storage or a live well below the cushions.”

With boats on display along Pier 3—slips 369 and 370—as well as one in slip 780, Sobo said the 399 Sport Open is going to be joined by the latest 399 Cabin, which made its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last fall, along with new 360 Open and 360 Cabin models.

Sobo also shared the news that Deep Impact has appointed two new dealers. Longtime industry veteran, Scott Ryerson of Suncoast Powerboat Yacht Brokerage in Bradenton, Fla., is going to handles Florida’s West Coast, and Tyler Sanders of All About Boats located at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri will head up sales for the territory, which includes Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas.

“We are excited to expand our network with these two respected organizations and are looking forward to continuing to grow the Deep Impact line of custom boats,” Sobo said.

Ryerson, who said he has known both Sobo and the owner of Deep Impact, Mark Fischer, for many years and considers them both friends, is thrilled to be part of the Deep Impact team.

“Deep Impact builds an incredible boat, and thanks to Mark’s passion for the sport, the company continues to take its boats to the next level by investing in new designs, production techniques and more,” said Ryerson, who has already ordered a few custom center consoles for current customers, including the 399 Sport Open that’s going to be on display in Miami. “Deep Impact builds a heavy, solid boat that handles the rough stuff well and is still as fast as other boats that are smaller in size. From our standpoint, the Deep Impact line provides a perfect combination of everything you need in a center console. Between styling and speed and comfort and luxury, the boats are tough to beat.

“Many of our clients have transitioned from the high-performance cats and sport boats to triple- and quad-engine center consoles so we’re pleased to be able to offer the latest and greatest from Deep Impact,” Ryerson continued. “Our customers down here in Florida use their boats all the time. They like to go places and travel long distances, and center consoles give them that opportunity thanks to the reliable outboard engines. We’re excited about the partnership.”

Related stories
Countdown to the 2018 Miami Boat Show
Gallery of the Week: Stephen Miles Design Makes a Deep Impact
Deep Impact Set to Showcase Extensive 2018 Lineup in Fort Lauderdale
First Look: Revised Deep Impact 399 Cabin Performance Center Console
Sobo to Lead Sales and Marketing for Deep Impact Custom Boats and Blackwater Boats

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Life is better on a boat. Catch all the excitement of the 2018 boating season at the 60th annual Detroit Boat Show

 There may be ice and a fresh layer of snow on the ground right now, but it will be warm and bright inside the Cobo Center in Detroit on Feb. 17-25 for the 60th annual Detroit Boat Show.

 “We’re really going all out for the show’s 60th year,” said Patti Smith, owner of Silver Spray Sports in Fenton and vice chairman of the Michigan Boating Industry Association. This organization hosts both the Detroit Boat Show and the Novi Boat Show, coming March 15-18 to the Suburban Collection Showplace.

 “We’ll be celebrating this diamond year milestone by giving away diamond earrings,” Smith said.

 There will also be several special events like Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel and a Wake Rail Jam with professional wake boarders performing air-defying tricks.

 What’s new this year for the boating industry is the longer turnaround time for custom boat orders. “Orders are filling up,” Smith said. “People need to get out to the boat show and get their orders in. If not, order them in-stock. The boating season is already off to a great start.”

 Many local boat dealers and marinas participate in these boat shows, and all are very optimistic about the 2018 boating season.

Families, Millennials

are driving the industry

 “It’s all about family,” said Mary Rising, of Action Water Sports in Tyrone Township. “There’s a trend in families wanting to spend quality time together outdoors, ditching the cell phones, tablets and just enjoying one another,” she said.

 Action Water Sports usually hosts its own on-site boat show, but because of a major expansion, they will be taking their show on the road to both Detroit and Novi. They are adding an additional 9,500 square feet to their current 16,000 square feet, for more showroom, office and service space, with an expected completion date this spring.

 “We’ll be taking nine MasterCraft and five Cobalts,” said salesman Aaron Monier. “One of the boats will be the new MasterCraft XSTAR, an all new wake board and wake surfing boat with a new hull design and a fast-fill ballast system.”

 Jeff Nichols of Aqua Water Sports in Fenton Township is expanding this year’s boat show booth to 3,000 square feet. He’ll be taking seven MB Sports Boats to the show, including the new B52 23-foot re-designed surf boat. “It’s been a record-setting year,” he said. “Surfing continues to drive our industry.”

 Nichols sees a new trend of Millennials coming of age now and being able to afford these boats after moving onto the lakes. “There’s been a changeover,” he said. “People who are retired and doing the snowbird thing are now selling their lake homes to younger people. It’s really driving the industry.”

Pontoons are still wildly popular

 “It looks like it’s going to be another great year,” said Freeway Sports Center owner Jim Adams. “Pontoons are still very popular. Our hottest model is the new 23-foot Princecraft with 115 hp and a Mercury 4-stroke engine. At $26,999, it’s a real good value in the market.”

 Freeway Sports Center is known for its variety of boats, from personal water craft to fishing boats. “We sell a lot of boats for walleye fishing on Saginaw Bay,” he said. “We’ve got boat packages from $3,000 up to $100,000.”

 White’s Landing in Fenton will be heading to Cobo with four boats, including its new line of SeaPro Center Consoles.

 “This boat line has evolved over the years to being a popular fishing boat or day boat because of its versatility and medium price point,” said owner Jonathan Hamel. “They’re really practical for small or big bodies of water.”

 White’s Landing is most well-known for its Bennington pontoon line, with in-stock boats available in the showroom.

 Lake Ponemah Marina in Fenton has 15 Avalon pontoons available in stock at their showroom, said manager Andy Castles. “The last two years, we’ve sold out our stock between June and July,” he said.

 Why are pontoons so popular? “You can do anything any boat can do, while still fitting 12 to 14 people (based on a 25-foot boat with 250 hp),” Castles said. “Models with entertainment/bars, high performance sound systems and accent lighting are the most sought-after features.”

Technology rules in today’s boats

 Features on today’s boats are taking after the car industry, said Smith of Silver Spray Sports, which carries the exclusive Nautique line. “The amenities are out of this world,” she said.

 Touch screens, lighted cup holders and dashboards, back-up cameras and integrated steering assistance are just a few of the features that create technology excitement and safety on the water.

 Technology also means more control for the surfer or skier behind the boat. “You can have customized control over the wake from the behind the boat with Surf Select,” Smith said.

 The Smiths will be taking nine boats to the show. “We put them up in the air,” Smith said. “Jeff (her husband) does a really elaborate full-on display.”

Personal watercraft makes boating affordable

 Personal watercraft have become safer, quieter and cleaner than ever before, creating a new wave of excitement for these affordable products.

 Chuck Heil of CC Sports in Brighton has been taking a Sea-Doo line to the boat show for more than a decade. “Sales continue to climb,” he said. “It’s an affordable way to get out on the water. You can also tow tubes and kneeboarders.”

 He said all age groups are interested in personal watercraft, but Millennials are especially buying the new Sea-Doo Spark. “There’s a new Trixx three-passenger model that’s real popular with the younger group,” Heil said.

 Sea-Doo models start at $5,399 and there’s a new Splash Package with two Sea-Doo Sparks, trailer, gear and life jackets for $159 a month, Heil said.

Detroit Boat Show

Feb. 17-25 at Cobo Center


Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday and Monday:

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday: 3 to 9 p.m.

Tickets: $13 adults. Kids under 12 are free with adult. Free admission for active military, police and firefighters. Buy tickets online at or at the door.

Novi Boat Show

March 15-18 at Suburban

Collection Showplace


Thursday and Friday: 2 to 9 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets: $11 adults. Kids under 12 are free with adult. Buy tickets online at or at the door.

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Irish Boat Shop Expands To TC, Changes Coming To Chums Corner/Downtown


A vacant waterfront parcel in East Bay Township will see new life this spring, two long-running Traverse City businesses are making moves in Chums Corner, and several openings and expansions are coming to downtown Traverse City in The Ticker’s latest look at retail and restaurant news.

Irish Boat Shop
After searching “for decades” for the right opportunity to expand to Traverse City, marine retailer Irish Boat Shop is opening a new retail and service center at the former Waterfront Conference Center (pictured) at 2035 US-31 in East Bay Township.

Company President Michael Esposito says Irish Boat Shop is targeting a spring opening for the new location, the company’s third northern Michigan store. Owner Dave Irish opened his first store in Harbor Springs in 1961, followed by a Lake Charlevoix store in 1971. The company briefly tried to open in Traverse City in the 1980s, but the lack of technology like cell phones and Internet made operating three stores so far apart too difficult at the time, according to Esposito.

“We’ve looked at the market for decades, and the time is right,” he says. “We’re thrilled to have a waterfront location and to be in East Bay Township. Traverse City has everything: the demographics, the water. When I looked at all the (possible locations), I thought the right place to be was on the east side…it’s a dynamic and growing part of town.”

Irish Boat Shop will specialize in boat sales and water-based accessories and toys, and will also offer a “small” service component that will “grow as the market grows,” according to Esposito. The company’s waterfront location seemingly offers the potential of boat-up service, though Esposito says the business is still in the early stages of exploring the feasibility of that option. Irish Boat Shop plans to make “extensive renovations” to the long-vacant conference center, according to Esposito, who adds the store will offer “spectacular views of East Bay.”

Irish Boat Shop plans to employ 5-6 staff members at the Traverse City store to start, with local interviews already underway this week.

Chums Corner Changes
Two long-running Traverse City businesses are making moves in the Chums Corner corridor.

Kelley’s Custom Trailers recently moved its “one-stop trailer destination” from 683 West Blue Star Drive to 4288 US-31 across from Menard’s. The store – which specializes in vehicle trailers, parts, custom work, and services – started “more than 30 years ago (with) turning one trailer bought at auction” and has grown “into a business that now sells hundreds every year,” according to the company. Kelley’s relocation and expansion will allow downtown Traverse City’s Jack’s Auto Sales Service to embark on its own next stage of growth, says Mike Tokie, who helps run the business with his father and owner Jack Tokie and brothers Dave and Pat Tokie.

 “I told (Kelley’s owner) Pat Kelley ten years ago that if he ever wanted to sell his property, to call me,” says Mike Tokie. “In November, he called me and said they were moving. We weren’t looking (for a new location), it just kind of happened.”

But timing of the move is fortuitous, according to Tokie, who says the auto sales and service store is “jammed up” beyond its capacity at 114 Griffin Street across from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. The Tokies have owned and operated Jack’s Auto Sales Service at the location since 1976. The new Chums Corner property will allow the company to split into two separate businesses – Jack’s Auto Sales and Jack’s Auto Service – with service operations remaining downtown and sales moving out to Chums Corner.

“There’s not a whole lot of retail traffic on Griffin Street, and we can only fit about half the cars we own on this lot,” says Tokie. “We’ll have a lot more inventory and a lot more exposure out there.” The new Chums Corner location is set to open in March.

Downtown Changes
A new grab-and-go dining establishment and mini convenience store is set to open in downtown Traverse City this summer.

Marcia Conlon is opening Goodboy Provisions in one of three State Street-facing “live-work” units in the new TC Lofts building under construction next to the Park Place Hotel. The store will specialize in take-out menu items like sandwiches, salads, and protein bowls, plus offer brewed coffee, prepackaged snacks and other items in a “mini upscale convenience store” format.

“The idea came about because I love New York City, and one thing I like about is that every time you walk down the street, you’re ten feet from a place where you can walk in and grab something to eat and walk out,” says Conlon. “I know a lot of people would like more places like that here, where you don’t have to go in a restaurant or sit down or place an order and wait.”

TC Lofts Property Manager Maggie Laureto notes the new store will not only serve the public but the tenants of the new apartment complex, with an interior door available to access the store from the building’s lobby. The Park Place’s new conference center and the recent opening of State Street Marketplace across the street should also boost traffic to the store, Conlon hopes. A second live-work unit on the ground floor of TC Lofts will be occupied by architectural firm Paradigm Design, while Laureto is on the hunt for the third and final tenant. “We’d love to get a tech company or an artist or something cool in there,” she says. The building is targeting a June opening.

Also downtown, new tackle shop Liberty Tackle is set to open its doors February 15 in the lower level of 346 East Front Street below the Coin Slot. Owner Jim Liberty hopes to fill a hole left by the departure of other sporting good stores like MC Sports by offering fishing and tackle gear including spawn sacs, lures, rods and reels for year-round fishing needs in the area.

Finally, construction has officially begun on a planned expansion at Pangea’s Pizza Pub that will double the Front Street restaurant’s capacity from 100 to 200. The project will include a new upper-level rooftop deck stretching the entire length of the building, 800-900 square feet of new space on the main level, and kitchen abd bathroom expansions. Renovations are expected to be complete in time for the start of the summer 2018 season, according to owner Chris Mohrhardt.

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