“We just completed our incredible 30th progressive Novi Boat Show,” said Nicki Polan, executive director of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, “and in my 30 years of producing this show, I have never seen a crowds that big. It was electric!”
This 4-day in-person show returned last weekend to suburban Detroit after a two-year hiatus due to Covid, and area boaters have left no doubt that they want their boat shows are coming back. The show, held at the Suburban Collection Showplace, drew nearly 14,000 people, a whopping 40% increase in attendance from previous years.
A key driver of the success was that Polan and his team took extra steps to expand the event as a family experience by creating and promoting fun family features within the show. These included hands-on activities such as virtual boating and fishing simulators, lawn games, a unique paddle painting workshop, lighthouse crafts and the popular Twiggy the Squirrel Water Skier show. .
Additionally, the show featured a special harbor side market that highlighted nautical apparel and home decor, as well as many other exhibitors offering summer-focused products and services.
“We were very encouraged to see the volume of traffic and interest for our first indoor show in 2 years and it was our best Novi show in recent history,” said Paul Vanderdonck, Sales Director at Colony. Marine.
Rob Davis, Owner/General Manager of Club Royale, summed it up this way: “It was a crazy good show for us. There were a lot of people and buyers at the show. We sold a lot of boats, and if stocks weren’t low, we could have sold more,” he added.
The success of the Novi show, like virtually every other show in the industry since Covid began to wind down, re-authenticates that boat shows provide a powerful one-stop face-to-face buying experience for consumers all by feeding dealership sales funnels with lists of qualified prospects for sales teams to follow up on.
“The participants were optimistic. The sales offices were full. Boat sales were strong and the booth exhibitors were very busy over the 4 days,” said Polan. “Due to limited inventory, we have made a one-year exception and allowed the display of limited used 2020 and 2021 models ‘as new’, as well as new boats. Dealers have advised that the change worked well.
“It’s going to be a great boating season here in Michigan,” predicted Polan. “You could feel the excitement in the air.”
MBIA and MCMF Receive State Grant
This is apparently going to be a good year in Michigan for raising awareness of aquatic invasive species. The Michigan Boating Industries Association and the Michigan Clean Marina Foundation received a $302,700 grant to educate boaters about ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan. The funding was announced during National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
“Through this funding, we are able to use our events, resources and relationships to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in Michigan by engaging and educating the boating public on the steps to follow when moving ships from a body of water. to another,” MBIA’s Polan explained.
The MBIA/CMF project is one of 31 selected to share $3.6 million in grants under the Michigan Invasive Species Grant program. The program – implemented cooperatively by the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and Natural Resources – addresses the prevention, detection, eradication and control of invasive species in Michigan. This year’s recipients offered $541,500 in matching funds and services to support these projects, leveraging a total investment of $4.14 million.
Michigan is the only state that borders four of the five Great Lakes and is also rich in inland lakes and rivers that are widely used for boating. It is consistently among the top states in terms of annual boat sales.
“We have the largest freshwater resource in the world,” Polan said, “and we all have a role to play in keeping lakes and rivers clean and available for generations to come. MBIA and CMF look forward to doing their part to educate our boaters.