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VIDEO: Exhibitors report strong Suncoast Boat Show

Attendance numbers won’t be available until Tuesday, but boat dealers and manufacturers and vendors at the annual Suncoast Boat Show in downtown Sarasota, Fla., said Sunday that they were pleased with the turnout and called the show a success.

Here’s a sample of what they had to say as the three-day event held by Show Management at Marina Jack on Sarasota Bay wound down:

“The show’s been excellent,” said Peter Cook, president of New World Marine Inc. in Pompano Beach, Fla., maker of Fendergrip. “It has really been worthwhile. We’ve had excellent reception for our product here. We’re very satisfied.”

Cook said he sold 500 units of his product, a fender holder.

“We’ve done very well, even though we had a lot of rain Saturday,” said Brian Kirchner of Tarpon Marine Detailing in Palm Beach, Fla., a Sea-Shield-certified business specializing in high-end yacht polishing and protection products. “It has been a good turnout, and people are ... buying the products. It’s a smaller show, but it has worked out very well. There has been a great turnout today.”

“It’s been a fantastic show,” said Stacy Meeth, marketing director of SeaTow Sarasota. “We’ve had a very steady crowd. We’ve been doing very well.”

Click play for scenes from Sarasota.

The company sold 25 memberships, which includes a mix of new memberships and renewals, she said.

“It has been a really good show,” said Charles White, general manager of Marine Dynamics in Englewood, a dealer of Everglades, Sea Fox and Tidewater. “We’ve talked to a lot of people and other dealers I have talked to who echo the same sentiment — people are in the market to buy a boat, and their shopping window is fairly short.”

White said he drew up two contracts for Sea Fox center consoles that the customers will sea-trial this week.

“We’ve been pleased,” said Joe Petersen of Quality Boats of Clearwater Inc., a dealer of Pursuit, Grady-White, Regal and Scout boats. “We’ve had double the traffic today than maybe Friday and Saturday combined. The quality of the customers has been good.”

Petersen said he has two sea trials this week with serious clients.

Brokers at the show also had positive reports. “Credible and qualified — those are the two buzzwords flying around the show,” said Mark Karampelas, a yacht broker with the Tom George Yacht Group of Dunedin, Fla., standing aboard a 2003 Hatteras convertible with twin 3412 Caterpillars (1,500 hours) for $799,000.

The group had eight boats in the water on display. “We’re finding more and more people are qualified,” Karampelas said. “They are not just lookers.”

Tim DeVries agreed. “It is not always about the numbers,” said the factory representative from Stamas Yacht Inc., which is based in Tarpon Springs, Fla. “It is about the quality of the people at the show. The people who are really interested in buying are here today.”

Stamas debuted its 362, 326 and 289 models at the show.

— Chris Landry

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