NEW YORK — Early indicators suggest that the new dates for the Progressive New York Boat Show are having a positive effect on attendance, exhibitors said Thursday, the second day of the 110-year-old show, which continues through Sunday at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
“Attendance was good Wednesday and again today, and I expect it to get better each day, depending on how much snow we get on Saturday,” said Bob Petzold, president of Petzold's Marine Center in Portland, Conn. The marina and dealership is celebrating 70 years in business this year.
A relatively mild Northeast winter and a continually improving economy also favor the industry, he added.
Petzold, who was exhibiting his dealership’s line of Sabre, Back Cove, Regal and EdgeWater boats, said the show’s new mid-January dates are far more appealing than those in previous years that fell too close to the holiday season.
The show has agreed to go back to its original dates in 2016 as part of a deal with other stakeholders who were incensed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to assign the show more favorable dates from 2015 to 2019.
Attendance at the 2016 New York show will be closely scrutinized, compared with this year’s final tally.
A line of visitors were waiting when the gate opened at noon on Thursday and the crowd built steadily through the afternoon.
Steve DeFeo, co-owner of DeFeo’s Marina in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., said his dealership, which carries the Bennington line exclusively, said he signed contracts on three pontoon boats on Wednesday, the opening day of the show.
“An 18-, a 24- and 25-footer,” he said of the boats under contract. “All three were women buyers, which I’m not sure if that means anything, but all were very enthusiastic about the boats.”
“I’m very optimistic, very excited going into this year,” he added.
Among the boats making their consumer debut at the show was Chaparral’s 250 Suncoast single outboard-powered deckboat. With its open layout and walkaround swim platform, the boat is geared to families, said Bill Mudgett, eastern regional sales manager for the manufacturer.
The stars of the Chaparral lineup, however, are the Vortex line of jet-powered sport, fish and ski boats that the manufacturer introduced last year.
“We’ve had more Web hits for the jets than anything we’ve ever had before,” Medgett said. “Unsolicited leads just keep coming in to us.”
Doug Nettles, East Coast business manager for Boston Whaler, said the manufacturer is picking up right where it left off in 2014.
“We’re off to a great start. The traffic has been good and the quality of customers has been good,” Nettles said of the show. “And the three dealers we have here (Hampton Watercraft & Marine of Hampton Bays, N.Y.; McCarthy’s Marine Sales of Brielle, N.J; and three regional MarineMax dealerships) are all top-quality dealers with professional sales teams.”
More than ever, new product is the lifeblood of manufacturers and dealers, Nettles said.
“It generates great buzz and it generates sales,” he said.