Boat Show Brings Promise to Rebounding Industry

(Greene County, MO) — An Ozarks industry is
recovering after taking a hit in the recession.

This weekend, potential buyers are
checking out the vehicles at the Springfield Boat RV Show Sale.

“I
had a 16-foot Stratous bass boat,” says Harold Sawyer. He’s looking over
the boats, just don’t expect him to drop any cash for a new one. “We’re
just having a good time this year.”

In
fact, he missed his old boat. He had to get rid of it.

“Well,
the economy got so bad I just couldn’t afford to run it up and down the
lake.”

And
that’s what sales people at boat companies across the Ozarks faced with the
downturn. People didn’t have the money.

“Obviously
to purchase a boat, it’s extra income,” says Tim Schoening, owner of
TriToon Town in Osage Beach, which lost a chunk of its business in those times.
“I would say our business maybe 30 or 40 percent down in sales.”

Now
though, dealers at this year’s boat show are reporting improvements.

“Consumer
confidence is on the increase,” says Zane Stevenson, store manager of
MarineMax at Table Rock Lake. MarineMax laid off workers a few years ago.
“We’ve actually added staff over the past 12 months and stepped up our
service on water.”

And
you’ll even find some sales here. Still, none of the dealers we spoke with say
they’re back to where they were before the recession.

“I
believe it will come back,” says Sawyer. “I think it would come back
a lot better if the gas prices would come down.”

These
sales people are just hoping potential buyers have enough money to treat
themselves to a new craft.

The
promoter for the Springfield
Boat RV Show Sale, Mike Rhodes, says the boat side
grew by 50 percent this year.

The show runs through Sunday at the E-Plex at the
Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.


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