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Largest Fleet Ever Sailing To DeVos
The longest-running consumer show produced by Showspan Inc. will fill
"The christening of the new ballroom at
A record number of 42 dealers, a dozen more than last year, will be on hand for the show that runs from Wednesday through Sunday. All those dealers will haul 400 new boats from almost 100 manufacturers into
The dealers at the Boat Show are a portion of the 800 exhibitors that Showspan annually brings to the downtown convention center for its five-show run. Showspan President John Loeks recently told the Convention and Arena Authority, which owns
Loeks also told the CAA that last year's Boat Show had an economic impact of $26.9 million, while drawing more than 26,000 consumers. Loeks also said moving into
"It's our exhibitor space that measures our true success," said Loeks.
But Loeks said the show that may have benefited most from leaving the smaller
"Our local car dealers benefit directly from the show, or so they tell me," he said.
This week marine dealers from throughout the Midwest will use the show much like the auto dealers used theirs — to kick off, or shove off, rather, the 2005 selling season.
Both power and sailboat dealers are hoping for a fast start on the new season, after many had a good one last year. Dealers usually make a third to a half of their sales each year during the boat-show season.
"We enjoyed a record sales year in 2004. We're excited about the increased interest in sailing; 2005 could be a big year," said Don Pollard, owner of Pollard's Landing in
"We're expecting a very good year. Interest rates remain low and the economy is rebounding," said Jerry Brouwer, manager of Action Water Sports in Hudsonville.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association reported a 4 percent rise in new powerboat sales nationally through the third quarter of last year from the same period in 2003, which represented a 17 percent increase in dollar sales.
Show admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 15, while kids ages 5 and younger are admitted for free.
"The Boat Show is the first time the public can see this beautiful hall that is perched overlooking the