Crowds come out for New York show

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012510crowdNEW YORK – Mid-January dates, a shorter show, decent weather and improving consumer confidence all contributed to a New York Boat Show that surpassed the expectations of exhibitors and organizers.

The 105th New York show took place Jan. 20-24 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This year’s show was a shift from the usual nine-day format, and took place well after the holiday season – changes that were welcomed by exhibitors and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces the show.

“It exceeded our expectations and the exhibitors’ expectations by a lot,” show director Jon Pritko said Sunday afternoon while crowds still roamed the floor in the last hours of the show. “These guys are selling product. You see happy people. There’s not just tire-kickers coming in.”

Attendance at the show was up 51 percent over last year to 47,443, according to organizers.

Exhibitors at this year’s show were down by about 10, Pritko said, adding that some exhibitor spaces had been condensed and other manufacturers did not come this year. Of all the former Genmar brands, only Glastron, Wellcraft and Seaswirl were represented at the show.

Crownline dealer Tim Kelly, from Great Bay Marine, said Sunday he was having a much better show this year.

“There’s a lot more customers who actually seem to be more qualified buyers,” he said.

As of Sunday afternoon, he had sold seven boats – much better than the two boats he sold in nine days at last year’s show.

Kelly attributed the improvement largely to the change of dates, but said he’d also started seeing a turnaround at his dealership last fall.

In the final hours of the show, attendees were lined up at the Tara, Prestige, Back Cove, Formula and other yacht exhibits, hoping to get aboard some of the large vessels that dotted the show floor.

Nearly every exhibit had a good number of people looking over the boats and asking questions; some took time to snap pictures of their children pretending to drive the boats.

“The crowd is much better, much bigger,” said Boston Whaler manufacturers representative Wil Rogers. “While things are still not the best in the economy, it’s nice to see the crowds. There’s not so much doom and gloom.

“We’re happy with the quality of the customer coming in,” he added. “They may not buy at the show, but there are buyers.”

Boston Whaler dealer Tony Villareale, from Hampton Watercraft & Marine, said the five-day format and mid-January dates are what made the difference.

“We’re starting to see signs of recovery,” he said. “We’re not getting rich, but people are buying boats.”

Neal Hager, Northeast regional sales director for Chris-Craft, said customers for his boats were more likely to visit a dealership than a boat show, but they had seen some qualified buyers.

“I think it was worth the investment [to come to the show],” he said, adding they did not exhibit last year.

Dates for next year’s event have not been set, but Pritko said he was again hoping for mid-January dates and expected to keep the shorter show format for the event.

— Beth Rosenberg


9 comments on “Crowds come out for New York show

  1. Liz

    Just a correction to the article….Glasstron was not the only “Ex-Genmar Brand” at the show Hampton Marine Center was at the show displaying Wellcraft Boats…we had a great show!

  2. Bentley Collins

    We (Sabre and Back Cove) participated in the New York show again this year and could not be happier with the results. With so many fewer boats on display the larger crowd had to be squeezed into fewer boats and that made for long lines and weary salespeople working the boats. One of the hardest shows I have ever worked but nice to see the market reawakening

  3. cledus

    I don’t buy it at all. Saturday the place was not very busy. The overall floorspace was shrunk by at least 30% , they moved in the sliding sidewall, and they put up a curtain across the back shrinking usable space. To add insult they added a ton of seating areas for people to consume those wonderful hotdogs, all to make it look busy. WHAT a JOKE!!!!!!

  4. Bren

    I’m not sure where Cledus was on Saturday, but it was one of the busiest days at a show that I have seen in a long time.  We had a line up for our boats that was 30 minutes long lasting from 11 am until 8pm, non stop.  I was very pleased with the show and the look for the smaller number of exhibitors at the show. 

  5. John Ennis

    The consumer tide may no longer be going out and that is good but with bank loans hard to come by..the incoming flood tide is many months away and may never reach the record highs of previous years. The long wait will probably sink more dealers and manufacturers and that may be good. When you have an industry made up of the strong the sailing is alot smother.

  6. Allen Schneider

    We (Si-tex Electronics) exhibited at the 2010 New York Boat Show, and could not be happier with the results!  We had excellent crowds everyday of the 5 day show.  The crowds on Saturday were the biggest I have seen at that show since it moved into the Javitts Center years ago.  The customers visiting our display were excellent and our sales were Great!.  In addition the new dates and the 5 day format drastically cut our expenses for doing this show, which was also a major plus. 


    We just finished the Baltimore show this weekend. We were  very busy with serious, qualified buyers.  This show produced many sales compared to 08-09.

  8. Reynolds Yacht Sales

    Sounds like a real indicator. I also have contracts early in the season. Real people with real money.

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