The Boating & Outdoor Festival held at Lake St. Clair Metropark September 19-22 was deemed a success by exhibitors and producer, Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA). Attendance was up 16% over 2012, with 11,412 people attending. More boats were on display in water and on land as the show grew to accommodate increasing demand for dock space and larger land displays.
Not only did we see huge increases in the number of people who attended the show, but we saw double digit increases in leads generated as well as increased sales from previous years. Our display over the weekend was busy from the show opening right up until show closing. The number of new prospects we spoke with who were new to boating was phenomenal. We have a solid week of follow up appointments to demo many of the boats we had on display. We have not experienced this level of excitement at the Fall Show in a number of years!” said Tom Haag from Colony Marine in St. Clair Shores.
“The Boardwalk in the marina was packed with shoppers all weekend,” said Show Manager Nicki Polan. “We’re pleased and not surprised at the success of the event as the industry in Michigan continues to grow. Great weather and excellent support from our local media helped us as well.”
“The crowds and the venue at this event are definitely the best in the Midwest. We took a number of deposits at the show and the follow-up on Monday has been very positive. The energy was upbeat and we felt it was a great opportunity to promote our upcoming demo days,” said Mike Raguso, Lakeside Formula, St. Clair Shores.
Michigan is the third largest boating market in the country with $450 million spent in 2012 on boats, motors, trailers and accessories. The industry has a $7.4 million impact on Michigan’s economy. Michigan’s boating industry grew 20% in 2012 – outpacing the rest of the country which grew 10% according to the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association. “The improving economy has propelled the rebound of boating in Michigan,” said Polan.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index stated in a recent release that overall indications are that the economy is strengthening and may even gain some momentum in the months ahead. “We left the Festival with a lot of leads and definitely saw more buying interest from consumers than last year,” said Jay Maurer from Decks & Docks Marine of Sylvan Lake, Mich.
“We sold one of the three boats we had in-water and feel strongly the other two will go quickly. The show had great traffic and in the crowds there definitely were buyers,” Dean Jarocki, Southeastern Marine.
“We were very happy with the show. We had great traffic over the weekend and felt the show brought us a quality audience with a lot more buyers than expected. Follow-up with our leads has also been going very well,” said Bill Nickolopoulos, Orion Marine, Oxford, Michigan.
More than 120 companies exhibited at the 2013 event. Festival sponsors included Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, Don Gooley Cadillac, and American 1 Credit Union.
The 2014 Boating & Outdoor Festival is scheduled for September 18-21, 2014.
Logo courtesy Michigan Boating Industries Association