Saturday, October 7, 2017

Around the Water in 80 Days

Kenmore Air Flight to Roche Harbor, Washington

In the past two months I’ve been on the road non-stop at boat shows and dealer meetings:

In early August, Katie and my family attended the Alumacraft dealer meeting in Minnesota.  We were proud to accept a Top Sales Award at the meeting and we changed our buying strategy to allow us larger discounts to better compete with Lund, Lowe, Crestliner, and Smokercraft.  Hamlin's Marine is now seeing truck loads coming in with our bread and butter models…the Escape 145 CS, the Classic165 CS, the Classic 165 Sport, the Competitor 175 Sport, the Edge 185, and the Trophy 205.  Our goal is to grow our volume in 2018 by 20% or more.  Hamlin’s will be more aggressive in pricing, more focused with our model offering, and more knowledgeable about the best aluminum fishing boat in America.  All of our Alumacraft boats are powered by Yamaha outboards unlike many of our competitors.  Katie and my daughters, Zoe (9) and Ella (7), also had some valuable Family Fun time.  We took a test drive on a new Alumacraft 185 Edge on the mighty Mississippi River.  Talk about muddy water!  My girls were also pumped to visit the Mall of America in Minneapolis.  Insanity!!!!

Fun Flight to Minneapolis
Alumacraft Sales Award
Mississippi Muddy Waters

Mall of America

Next…Reid Garrity, Josh Cottrell, John Clark, and I headed to Bennington in Indiana.  Bennington has been our success story this year, and it seems as though it has been for every dealer.  Bennington simply could not supply the capacity demanded by the dealers.  I estimate that we lost at least 30 boat sales because we did not have adequate inventory.  Our plan for 2018 is to order 30 more boats under $30 K for a segment we were short on in 2017.  We also plan on buying 10 more triple toon models with Yamaha SHO 250 HP models and SPS Plus packages to hit a price point between $55-$65 K.  The folks at Bennington are top notch and the guys all went home with full bellies of prime rib, crab legs, and frog legs too!  Yuck!  All of us flew into Chicago, and we managed to catch a White Sox Game and found a love for Chi-Dogs and Deep Dish Pizza.  This trip cost me 10 pounds!

Field Testing High Powered Bennington Triples 

Maine Boys in the City;  Chi-Dogs for the Next BBQ

Bennington's QXP is in a Class of it's Own

After my trip to the Midwest, I went on the road with Chris Duffy.   Chris has taken on the role as the new Sales Rep for Puffin Boat Co.   His goal is to grow our Edendriver and Scout 151 dealer network from New Jersey to Maine.   I believed that inland dealers that did volume sales like Hamlin’s Marine would pounce on the opportunity to stock Scout 151s.  It turns out I was right.  Chris and I drove to Saratoga, New York and set up Point Breeze Marine on Saratoga Lake.  They loved the boat and are placing an initial stocking order of (3) Scout 151s.  A day later, Chris and hit  Lake Placid, New York and set up another dealer…Placid Boat Rentals.  Placid Boat Rentals is our first Edendriver & Scout 151 dealer.   Of course, eating and drinking again came into play once again!  We caught a Goo Goo Dolls show in Saratoga and found the Mecca of Beer the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT. 

Budget Dining and Lodging on the Road

Beautiful Lake Placid with our New Dealer

Placid Boat Rentals

In early September, Mike Perrino and I headed to the West Coast for the Cutwater Dealer meeting.  I had the opportunity to sit down with the executive team at Cutwater and discuss the growing East Coast market.  During the dealer meeting, Cutwater and Ranger Tugs set the record for the largest Boat Rendezvous in history, with 190 Cutwaters and Ranger Tugs in attendance.  With Cutwater, I learned that we need to change our pre-delivery process to ensure better satisfaction due to the complexity of Cutwater…i.e. one or two day orientations.  Hamlin's Marine is very excited to spearhead the growth for Cutwater Boats on the East Coast.

Not the Biggest Dealer...But Most School Spirit!!!

Mike Perrino Travelling in Style

Dealer Networking Time with S'mores

Cutwater Owners Know How to Have Fun

My next stop was a visit to Duckworth Boats in Clarkston, WA.  I believe there may be a market in Maine for a West Coast style plate aluminum boat for both freshwater and saltwater applications.  Mike Perrino and I did a plant tour, and we were both very impressed with the brand.  Unfortunately, Duckworth seems to be sold out until next August.  They didn’t really seem hungry from business.  However, I just received a followup email about a potential test market at the Boston Boat Show.  I’ll keep you all posted.

Dusty Trip to Eastern Washington

Pure West Coast Rugged Aluminum

In Mid-September, Mike Perrino, Justin Sass, Eric Moran, and I headed to the Newport Boat Show to represent Cutwater, Edendriver, and Scout 151s.  It was a successful show…we ended up selling a used AB inflatable and Josh Cottrell ended up contracted a new Edendriver.  Puffin Boats also generated a 151 Sale for our dealer in Massachusetts, Monahan’s Marine.  We rented a nice house in Newport, and I had a blast working with the Puffin Boat crew.  I can't tell you how proud I am of these men!  And to think, we only started building boats a few years ago!  After Newport, we moved the inventory to the Norwalk Boat Show in Connecticut.  George Francis and Chris Duffy were able to sell another Edendriver and our Cutwater 30 Command Bridge sold as well.

Edendriver on Display

Eric Moran Trying out a Cutwater 30 Command Bridge

Justin Sass Making the Most of Boat Show Downtime

After Newport, Mike Perrino and I flew to the Scout Dealer meeting in Charleston, SC.  Hamlin's Marine has had a solid year with Scout.  A dozen new Mainers are Scout owners this year…not counting the  Scout 151s we build at Puffin Boat Co.  Our strategy for 2018 is to place our orders for each location and make sure we have a proper display throughout the year.  I believe that Hampden will be successful selling 175 Dorados, 195 Sportfish models (now have a marine head), and 210 Dorados.  Waterville will be successful selling 175 Dorados and 195 Dorados.  Freeport will be moving 195 Sportfish, 215 XSF, 235 LXF (new model), and 255 LXFs.  During my time at Scout, I was also able to sign our a Florida Edendriver dealer, Edgewater Yacht Sales in Pensacola, FL.  During our trip south, Hamlin's also signed on with Chris-Craft.  We are very excited to bring Chris-Craft back to Maine.

Mike Perrino with Legendary Steve Potts on a 380 LXF

High Rollers Having Lunch in Charleston

Hanging with our Friend Brian from Danversport, MA 

Sneak Peak at a New Chris-Craft 27 Launch

And just last week, Katie and I drove to Quebec City for the Yamaha Best In Class trip.  Hamlin’s is among the top Yamaha dealers in the country.  The trip was a blast!  I want to thank everyone for helping to send us on this Awards Trip. The trip gave Katie and I the time to put everything that has happened this year into perspective!

Katie in Old Quebec City

I can’t tell you how glad I am to be off the road for a while and catch up with everyone at home.  I am very much looking forward to a successful sales campaign, "Don't Be Scared to Buy a Boat", and a great fall service season.  The showrooms are looking very scary!!!