August 21, 2018

In spite of continuing concerns over tariffs and trade restrictions, a significant number of Canadian dealers attended New Paris, Indiana-based Smoker Craft’s 2019 model year dealer meeting earlier this month. The event, held at the company’s plant, turned out to be its largest yet with more than 230 dealerships worldwide represented.

The family-owned manufacturer of aluminum, fibreglass and pontoon boats sold under the Smoker Craft, Starcraft, Sylvan and SunChaser brands said that in spite of challenges including tariffs and intense domestic competition for skilled labour, the company posted 20 percent growth last year. “In fact we’ve enjoyed four consecutive years of 20 percent growth,” said senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, Peter Barrett. “Credit for that lies with our unbelievable sales team, our incredibly dedicated workforce, and our dealer councils that have helped guide us in developing new product that sells. Our target for the coming year is another 20 percent growth, and from what we see in the market, we believe that is absolutely achievable.”

Dealers from Sweden, Russia, the Netherlands, Australia, Colombia and Canada were joined by a large number of dealer prospects to see the full 2019 model year lineup and to test-drive more than 20 new boats on nearby Lake Wawasee. Dealers facing higher import costs due to tariffs were largely focused on finding ways to mitigate the increases, said Barrett. “We’re working very closely with our dealers to find efficiencies in other areas, such as shipping for example, to help mitigate those added costs.”

As part of the business meeting, the company presented dealer achievement awards for the 2018 model year. Two Canadian dealerships – Marsh’s Waubaushene Marine and Marine Management Services Inc. – were included among Smoker Craft’s Top 20 dealers worldwide for 2018. With five retail locations in western Canada, Edmonton-based Marine Management was also presented with the Harold A. Schrock Cornerstone Award, awarded to the dealer who best exemplifies integrity, loyalty and commitment to the Starcraft brand. Marine Management has been a Starcraft dealer since 2002 and today carry all of Smoker Craft Inc.’s product lines. The company has been a Top 20 dealer from the beginning, and top dealer overall multiple times. Marine Management’s Dan Koziak and Rob Pelletier were on hand to accept the award.

On the supply chain side, the 2019 model year will see Smoker Craft replace the Murphy touch-screen displays that it has used extensively in its runabout and pontoon lines with Simrad Evo 3 units with the 2019 model year. “It’s a great product, the functionality is fantastic,” said Barrett. “The Simrad displays work nicely with what we’re trying to do, and really dress up the dash. We’ll be using them in all of our product lines.”


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