MDCE and fall shows are musts for dealers

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A $100 discount for registration to the 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in Orlando, which runs Nov. 16-19, ends this Friday. But, savings aside, the real question is: why haven’t you registered?

Those who regularly read this blog know how strongly I believe every marine dealer should attend the MDCE. Why? Because it’s the only national meeting of boating’s retailers providing a comprehensive program totally dedicated to successfully running a marine retail business.

More specifically, this year’s MDCE boasts an unprecedented list of learning opportunities featuring: opening and closing keynoters; 20 leading experts; four educational tracks including marketing, sales, service and leadership; and more than 30 educational sessions. Plus, the accompanying exposition boasting a wide variety of retail-related products, services and profit-center opportunities.

As of today, a record pace of 440 dealers (23 percent are first-time attendees) from the U.S. and Canada are already registered. It confirms for me that our industry is clearly growing again and dealers want to be positioned to capitalize on it. MDCE is co-produced by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry magazine. Get the details and discounts at www.mraa.com/mdce.

So let me ask you: If 440 dealers, like you, already know the MDCE will boost their business, doesn’t it make sense to join them?

Fall shows off to fast start

No surprises here. Both the Newport (R.I.) International Boat Show and Michigan’s Boating & Outdoor Festival saw solid attendance and business last weekend, adding still more evidence that our fall shows are reflecting the growing market.

While Newport’s final attendance figures weren’t available at press time, exhibitors are saying there’s no doubt it’s up. Moreover, exhibitors were clearly upbeat both going in and coming out of the show as evidenced by the fact that show space, including expanded in-water docks, was sold out.

It’s also notable that a record number of new products were entered in the ninth annual Newport for New Products awards program — another concrete sign that investments are being made because boating is clearly growing again.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Boating Industries Association’s big fall Boating & Outdoor Festival near Detroit chalked up another success in spite of a major cold front and inclement weather that moved down on the Great Lakes.

“Our attendance was essentially unchanged from a year ago,” MBIA executive director Nicki Polan said, “so we really had a great show. And we have no doubts attendance would have climbed if the weather had just given us a break.

“On the other hand, dealers said they were very pleased with sales and leads,” she said. “In fact, several dealers have indicated they want to increase their space next year.” She also confirmed this fifth annual edition was the largest to date boasting more in-water boats and increased adjacent shore side space for exhibits and features.

Overall, the show reflected the fact that Michigan dealers, particularly hard-hit by the recession, continue to rebound well with the improving economy.

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