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Old 08-23-2007, 10:21 AM
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T2x
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So I read the ad in USA today in which Marine Max is touting their nationwide sales blitz of "Excess 2007 Sea Ray inventory" to make way for the new 2008's, and it dawned on me that the "very big companies" have taken over. Apparently you can save a fortune on new (and used) boats while enjoying the "Marine Max Experience", whatever that is.

Bottom line and translation, boat sales are WAY off, Marine Max is choking on inventory, and they are spending big bucks on a clearance sale. While this is certainly standard business practice and not a conspiracy, it does point out how far we have come from the old local, relationship based dealerships that built the industry we all enjoy. Now a shopper looks cross country on the web for a bargain as opposed to visiting a few dealerships and making a couple of phone calls. The local service relationship has been lost, and a nearby dealer whose name you know (and maybe had dinner with) is a dim memory.

I know I'm old...and getting older by the minute, but this seems to be moving in the wrong direction. Our nation was built on small businesses and handshake agreements. Now you get your mandated customer service process, complete with corporate financing, new boat checklist, mandatory handshake and introduction to "Veronica" your "personal representative" (who will be working at some investment banking company in another city by the time you actually need her). All of this so a mega/corporate dealer can dump "units" on you and reduce that annoying negative cash flow issue on the financials. Worse yet the retail boat dealer competition now includes "Big Box" stores like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's and other Walmart wannabes.

Maybe, just maybe, the pendulum has swung too far and a "correction" is due. Perhaps, the marine business can develop a marketplace for smaller "boutique" dealerships based on first name relationships and understanding of the local boaters' needs, tastes and desires.

Certainly, it will prevent a nationwide "overstock" in one mega inventory.

Just my .02

T2x

Last edited by T2x; 08-23-2007 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2x View Post
Maybe, just maybe, the pendulum has swung too far and a "correction" is due. Perhaps, the marine business can develop a marketplace for smaller "boutique" dealerships based on a first name relationships and understanding of the local boaters' needs, tastes and desires.

T2x
Don't hold your breath. The "Walmart model" works. Period.

The small businessman can no longer compete on price alone. They have to have a "better" product at a higher price.

There will always be a market for speciality items (Harleys, Cigarettes, Jaguars), but it will be a very small market.

Just my two-cents...
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:30 AM
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I almost forgot...

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Old 08-23-2007, 10:44 AM
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Well said,Rich.
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:49 AM
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Rule#1 about handshake agreements.

Bend over and grab your ankle with your free hand and prepare yourself for one helluva fukin.
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:59 AM
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Radio stations had the same fate. I used to love our locally owned rock station back in the late 70's - late 90's. Then they got bought out by the big corps that own multiple stations. The format changes for the worst and you are stuck listening to what the industry wants you to hear. The local boys used to play what we, the listeners, wanted to hear. No way UFO's "Lights out London" or The Joe Perry Project's "Discount Dogs" would get played today like they did back in the day.
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:59 AM
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What goes around comes around. In the late 50's, early 60's, big corporations bought boat companies. Brunswick, who owns SeaRay, Whaler and a s**tlaod of other big companies got their ass handed to them in the first recession. They GAVE back Larson, Brunswick/Owens, and others for pennies on the dollar. It is probably going to happen again. (Third time in my lifetime)
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:00 AM
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HOLY CRAPOLI! I agree with something T2x is *****in' about! I bought my boat from a smaller localized marina and was VERY happy with how I was treated...even a couple post-sale repairs were handled expediently and effectively...and I could talk to the owner any time. I'll try to do the same for my next ride.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:15 AM
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"Our nation was built on small businesses and handshake agreements." ........huh? Who built the railroads? Who wired the nation for communications? Small business? Nope.

Constant change is the only thing that doesn't change.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:20 AM
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HA! Wait until you find out that "Veronica's" real name is Shiva Patel from Bangalore and she didn't go work at a bank, she was burned to death because her husband accidentally divorced her in his sleep! (And yes, I realize I'm mixing my urban myths here!)
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