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Taco awards Pursuit project boat; dealers should push holiday promotions now

“Ship Shape TV” host John Greviskis (in yellow shirt) is shown with the team from the show that covered the makeover of the Pursuit 2650.

“Ship Shape TV” host John Greviskis (in yellow shirt) is shown with the team from the show that covered the makeover of the Pursuit 2650.

I thought for sure my ticket would be drawn, but Roger LeFranc of Melbourne, Fla., is the winner of the Taco Marine Project Boat Raffle Fundraiser. LeFranc’s ticket was selected on Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

After a two-and-a-half-year total remodeling of the 1989 Pursuit 2650 that was extensively chronicled on “Ship Shape TV” and a successful fundraising campaign with nearly 1,800 entrants and donations, the Taco initiative raised more than $130,000. All of the proceeds go to the I’M LOGAN IT Foundation and support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and college scholarships for deserving students.

Donations for a chance to win the Pursuit poured in from around the country, including states as far away as Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. Since 2015 the project boat was featured on 29 “Ship Shape TV” episodes. You can find these episodes and more at tacomarineprojectboat.com.

Missing the Christmas boat

“It’s time to let your Holiday Spirit shine,” Lowe’s tells me in an email today. Not to be outdone, there’s a fancy insert in my newspaper from Home Depot offering me “Black Friday Savings” right now!

Over in my snail mail, Cabela’s has a slick four-color, eight-page mailer drawing my attention to a “Pre-Black Friday Sale!” No surprise, Bass Pro Shops is also heavy into a Christmas buying promotion. Why, even Amazon is touting early Black Friday deals, and many others are doing the same. Kinda makes me wonder that when Black Friday actually gets here, will it have any meaning? Maybe we need a new moniker — Black November.

Amid all these emails, inserts and mailers, I’ve noticed that I have received no encouragement to spend at any marine dealerships, and I’m on the email and/or mailing list of many. Could dealers be missing the Christmas boat altogether?

Look at my situation. This push to buy for Christmas early is clearly working. My wife, Kay, is already out grabbing up bargains for our kids, grandkids and friends. She’s saving money. I like that. But then reality hits — what if she’s never drawn by any Christmas ideas or bargains from our boat dealer(s)?

What if she doesn’t know the new fishfinder with CHIRP technology is just what I want and it’s reduced for a pre-Black Friday sale? Or she doesn’t even think about a gift certificate I could use to get whatever I wanted in the accessory or service departments? What if, under the tree, it’s another shirt and tie, all because no dealer came after our Christmas spending? Ugh.

It’s true — timing is everything. The big names recognize that although Christmas spending is projected to increase this year, everyone, regardless of income level, has a set limit on what they’ll spend on gifts. So with a distinct “get-to-the-money-first” mentality, retailers are moving faster and earlier than ever to grab a share of the pot before it’s empty. They know that once a customer has purchased a gift for someone, the name usually comes off the list and there won’t likely be another purchase later. Shopping for that person is done.

The fact is there are millions of dollars now being spent for Christmas gifts and every marine dealer has a highly qualified audience (existing customers) that could respond to special offers and Christmas promotions if they knew about them.

To not have one promotion or more going out right now, while the money is still clearly there, simply means being left out. The good news is there’s still time to move, but it’s running out fast.

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