Rick here from Used Pontoon Boats. Eddie Smith calls early season boat shows a win/win situation, meaning there's benefits for both dealers and the consumers.
"For us, it provides the opportunity to generate cash flow prior to the boating season," said Smith, an owner of Duncan Marine on Old Fannin Road near Ross Barnett Reservoir. "That's important after the long off-season. And for the customer, this is the best time to make as good a deal as they're going to get all year."
That time is this weekend in Jackson with the 4th annual Jackson Boat & RV show Friday through Sunday at the Mississippi Trade Mart.
Seven boat dealers from throughout Mississippi will be represented, along with Turning Wheel RV Center. Each has floor space packed with different makes and models.
"We always try to have some show specials, and I'm betting every dealer here will," said Jerry Scott of C&S Marine in Flowood. "The show gives us an opportunity to generate interest in our merchandise and, while we do expect to sell boats here, there is an extended interested.
"A lot of times the sale might not take place for a week or two, or even months."
Boat shows like the Jackson show gives consumers an opportunity to comparative shop in one location.
"Think of the time it will save you if you want to shop around, compared to driving all over the city," said D.K. Partridge of Jackson. "When we first got an interest in buying a pontoon boat a few years ago, we went to the boat show with absolutely no plans to buy one. We figured we could see all the different makes and models in one place instead of driving all over creation later in the year.
"We sort of made a decision at that time and then made a deal, and got them to honor the deal, later in the year when we were ready to start hitting the lake."
Smith said the boat show has grown nicely in recent years, both in size and in impact on the market.
"Last year, we sold 16 or 18 boats right out of Trade Mart, and probably 10 or 12 more in the next month on contacts we made during the show," he said. "It works for us."
Consumers can come ready to buy. Most dealers will have lenders on site ready to arrange financing, Smith said. "And a lot of the creditors are sports-specific that offer low interest rates and extended years."
A special attraction has been added this year, show coordinator Keith Parker of BK Productions said. The Royal White Tigers of India, featuring rare white tigers, will be at the show all three days.
"On Saturday, its Rod and Reel Day for children," Parker said. "The first 100 children under 12 with a paying adult will receive a free rod and reel."
Admission is $7 for adults. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.
Thanks to Bobby Cleveland and the Clarion-Ledger for this.
Used Pontoon Boats, By Cathy Henry and Rick Ostler
Used Pontoon Boats-North American Waterway
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