Valdosta Daily Times

Business

May 2, 2014

Still digging out from recession, boat industry focuses on value

(Continued)

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Niforopulos, the general manager, sold his entire 2014 allotment of 60 during the show. “We’ve been begging manufacturers for something like this. It’s great fun on Minnesota’s pothole lakes.”

The vessel can transport one to three people, which makes it a good hybrid for a teenager’s first boat or mothers who want to pull their kids on the inner tube.

The family aspect has always ranked high in the boating industry. It’s an activity that provides shared fun and experiences, for those who can afford it. So the industry is taking steps to secure the next generation of boaters. “We’re creating a database of youth boating programs across the nation. We hope to launch it mid-May,” said Kruhn.

For this season, retailers are cautiously optimistic. Sales of new boats are expected to rise 5 to 7 percent in 2014, according to the NMMA.

But consumers are in the captain’s seat. They’re expecting the best products at the best prices, Jacobs said. “This will be a good year. There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” he said. “People have got cabin fever like I’ve never seen.”

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