Exhibitors show faith in Miami show site plans

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Despite some early wrenches in funding renovations at the Miami Marine Stadium, where the Miami International Boat Show announced it will be located in 2016 and 2017, some exhibitors have faith that the issues will be resolved in time for the show.

Show owners and organizers the National Marine Manufacturers Association say that deal falling through won’t affect the show’s status there, but acknowledged that they have a backup plan in place just in case.

“There are always backup plans, but we don't expect to need them,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today, declining to elaborate on those plans. “Very little has changed.”

Exhibitors said they were looking forward to having an outdoor location for displays that traditionally have been inside the Miami Convention Center.

“I think it’ll be cool,” Brownies YachtDiver Stores president Dave Carmichael told Trade Only Today. “The venue looks pretty nice. It’s going to be little tough logistically the first year for them getting everything ready, but I think it’ll be a nice, open look with the water right there.”

He expressed a bit of concern that political infighting could make bankrolling the project’s renovation difficult after news of Thursday’s collapsed deal with the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium broke, but he remained supportive of the plan.

“I’ve got faith in them,” Carmichael said. “But Miami is political. I think we’ll be fine if they can get it done in time. They’ve got a little fight on their hands. Somebody’s going to have to spearhead it and push it through.”

“The only thing that changed yesterday was that, instead of having Friends of the Stadium [non-profit group] as our landlord, our landlord would be the city of Miami,” NMMA vice president of boat shows Cathy Rick-Joule told Trade Only Today on Friday.

“This has no impact on the boat show plans,” Dammrich said. “The city of Miami remains committed to bringing the Miami International Boat Show to Miami Marine Stadium in 2016.”

Peter Orlando, of Edgewater Boats, also expressed faith in the NMMA’s ability to pull the show off.

“I’m sure NMMA is looking at all the logistics and is working out the best scenario for it,” he told Trade Only. “It could work to everyone’s advantage — being outside that time of year is to everyone’s benefit. The jury’s still out, but I’m trying to stay positive. We’ll deal with it when it comes. The NMMA has spent a lot of time deliberating this. I’m sure they’ve looked at everything. So from an Edgewater standpoint, we’re behind them.”

Carmichael said it’s encouraging to see local officials all working together to bring the show to the stadium.

“There’s always going to be a little infighting. I gotta have faith, though,” he said. “The right people are behind it. I think it’ll get pushed through somehow, and it’ll be a positive thing. Otherwise, what are they going to do? The idea’s perfect to have it at the Marine Stadium.”

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