NORWALK, Conn. — Six years after the investment bank Lehman Brothers went under and the global economy imploded, leaving shell-shocked exhibitors at the Norwalk Boat Show in search of answers, the docks were decidedly upbeat this year.
“We’re getting more serious buyers — definitely,” Bruce Chappel, a sales consultant with MarineMax in Westbrook, Conn., told Trade Only Today. The show ran from Thursday through Sunday. “A lot of people I’ve spoken with are people who are boat owners looking to move up.”
Unlike the 2013 show, the weather was stellar through three of the four days of the southwestern Connecticut event at Norwalk Cove Marina. More than 400 boats and 250 accessory exhibitors were on hand.
“This is a good show for us, with its proximity to Wall Street, Long Island and Connecticut,” said Amy Gerry, director of client development for The Hinckley Co., which exhibited its Talaria 48 and T34 motoryachts. “Of late, we’re getting a good mix of current owners and sailors moving to power.”
“This is always a selling show for us,” said Dave Nolan, president of South Dartmouth, Mass.-based Cape Yachts, which sells new and used Beneteau, Everglades and San Lorenzo yachts. “We’re feeling confident for the first time in a long time.”
Like other exhibitors, Bob Petzold, president of Portland, Conn.’s Petzold Marine Center, which sells Sabre, Back Cove, Ocean, Regal and EdgeWater, noted that a spring sales slump was offset by an extended summer selling season.
“In 37 years in the industry I don’t remember selling as many boats in August and it seems like the momentum is continuing through,” he said. “Sales are definitely up and we seem to be on the right path.”