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MRAA holds Marine Retail University seminars

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas held its fifth Marine Retail University Wednesday in Brockton, Mass.

The daylong events are packed with educational seminars tailored regionally for dealers and held in various spots around the country.

About 150 dealers from the Northeast came for the event, exceeding the MRAA’s projections, according to MRAA president Matt Gruhn.

The endeavor began in October and has seen positive results, Gruhn told Trade Only Today at the event.

“We try to give general information and then drill down into the specific region so dealers have information that is relevant to then,” Gruhn said.

“Imagine the disadvantage a dealer would have if their competitors were here, but they weren’t,” he added.

The MRAA has had such positive feedback that the group is planning two more sessions in March, one in Minneapolis and one in Albany, N.Y.

Wednesday’s event, which was co-sponsored by Dominion Marine Media and supported by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, featured a morning seminar by Charlie Brooks, the GE Commercial Finance marine group’s Northeast business manager, who gave a largely positive overview of the industry.

Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe offered tips and trends in the New England market, showing dealers how the company drills down into the regional data pertinent to them.

Gruhn delivered a seminar on industry trends and opportunities, reflecting on the recession and where the industry is now.

Breakout sessions included “Regulatory Wrangling,” by Jamy Buchanan Madeja of Buchanan and Associates, who specializes in environmental, land use and government relations services for the MMTA; and “Get your Customers Financed,” by Gary Rademaker, director at Priority One Financial Services, and Chris Stevens, vice president and New England regional manager for Sterling Associates.

Afternoon sessions included the implications of the new tax code by CPA D.J. Gustafson and “Understanding the Social Effect in the New Sales Funnel,” given by Dominion Marine Media’s marketing director, Courtney Chalmers.

Concluding the day was a session titled “The Generation Drives the Strategy,” given by Shane Pierce, senior director of leadership development for Dominion Enterprises.

— Reagan Haynes

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