Start-up pontoon boat builder Barletta joins MRAA

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Barletta Boat Co. LLC, manufacturer of Barletta Pontoon Boats, has joined the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas as a platinum partner member.

Barletta is a new entry in the industry’s pontoon segment.

“We are entering the marine business with an all-new approach to dealer and customer relations,” Barletta president and co-owner Bill Fenech said in a statement. “As a longtime participant in the RV industry, the partnership we developed with our dealer network was absolutely the difference between being a good company and being a great company. It seems a natural starting point to engage with the MRAA and all that it does to support the growth and success of the marine industry dealer body. This is an important step for us to take.”

Based in Bristol, Ind., Barletta Pontoon Boats is the newest entry in the pontoon boat segment in years, the MRAA said.

Fenech, a longtime boater, brings nearly 30 years of RV experience to Barletta with his brother Ron and friend Don Clark. The three were part of the ownership group that led Keystone RV Co. to become what the MRAA said was the largest travel-trailer and fifth-wheel company in the world.

In 2012 the three men created Grand Design RV and led that company to $500 million in sales in four years.

The goal is to launch the company’s first pontoon model later this year.

“Bill and his team have demonstrated a passion for a dealer-centric approach to conducting business,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said. “We are encouraged by the thinking that this business model has been built upon, and we’re very much looking forward to partnering with Barletta Boats on dealer development projects.”