Senior reporter Chris Landry got a chance to check out the Regal Marine factory showroom on the third leg of a recent trip to three prominent boatbuilders in eastern Florida.
My first stop was at Bertram’s new boatbuilding plant in Merritt Island, followed by a visit with EdgeWater Boats president Peter Truslow, who arranged a sea trial on the company’s first diesel-powered boat, and then on to Regal.
Regal’s showroom in Orlando has served the manufacturer well since it opened about two years ago, helping to land at least a dozen dealers during the post-recession period, Regal vice president of sales and marketing Duffy Stenger said.
Click play for a tour of the showroom.
“Through the downturn there were a number of dealers that went out of business, and all boatbuilders have worked and continue to work to recruit new dealers,” Stenger said. “I will tell you, though, having the showroom is probably one of the biggest advantages in recruiting new dealers. A dealer can visit a factory, but how often do they get to see finished product like we have in the showroom?”
All of Regal’s models, from the 1900 bowrider to the 52 Sport Coupe, are on display in the 15,000-square-foot space. The showroom attracts about 20 visitors a week, so Regal has hosted about 1,000 visitors each year since it opened in March 2010.
Regal’s philosophy calls for dealers to keep inventory of their faster-moving products that sell in their market, Duffy said.
“We're not browbeating our dealers into overstocking inventory,” he said. “So that’s why it’s so beneficial for them to have the flexibility to bring their customers here and, along with the factory personnel, carry out a really professional job in presenting any boat and its features, in addition to being able to show how our boats are manufactured.”
Marketing coordinator Paul A. Kuck II, son of CEO Duane Kuck, led me on a tour of the showroom and I also got a chance to inspect the new 27 FasDeck deckboat and new trailerable 28-foot express cruiser with a single I/O and an optional bow thruster.
The young Regal representative homed in on some of the design features that set Regal apart from competitors, such as the leg on the dinette table in the 27's bow that's mounted off the foredeck for increased foot space, the multiple position backrest for the aft sunpad lounge, the anchor locker design that requires no anchor roller and the centerline armrests for the forward-facing bow seats.
These are all small examples of attention to detail, but they illustrate the company's boating knowledge, Kuck said.
"We love to say we are a company full of boaters. We love to go boating," he said. "When we are building a boat, we think about all the things that a boater would love to have or how they would want to use their boats."
The 28 Express’s narrow beam of 8 feet, 6 inches, allows it to be trailered without special permits. And with its single 300-hp Volvo Penta or MerCruiser dual-prop sterndrive the boat gets excellent mileage for an express cruiser. The bow thruster provides the owner with peace of mind in docking situations, Kuck said.
— Chris Landry