That sound is a pair of chains workers are using to lower a small pontoon boat into just the right spot on the Reliant Center show floor. Boat dealer David Foulkrod of Ron Hoover Marine says the smaller boats are the most popular.
“They’re multi-function boats that a family can use for fishing, skiing, just enjoying a day out on the water and these multi-use boats, like the Hurricane that we sell are doing very well for us.”
Nationwide boat sales lagged in 2011 as much of the country was still trying to pull out of the recession. Here in Texas, Foulkrod says things were much different.
“I think we started to see the Texas economy pick back here a while back. Kind of ahead of the country and so I think the dealers that are suffering in Texas have had more drought-related issues, because the market is returning.”
Sales may have been OK, but it was a terrible year for boating in Texas. With water levels so low at most lakes, people simply couldn’t launch their boats. Foulkrod believes that may have had an effect on sales for dealers located on or near lakes. Dealer Daryl Moore isn’t so sure about that.
“Most of our boats are trailable, so people are going to take their boat to where the water is anyway. So typically you know it’s not going to stop you. if you’re ready to purchase a boat, it’s not going to stop you, because we’re going to get spring rains.”
Moore does agree that Texas is doing better than the rest of the nation and he’s expecting a good year.
“We’re seeing a spike back up. The banks are lending money again on these particular products and the consumers got more confidence going into 2012 than what they did in 2011.”
The show starts this Friday and runs through the following Sunday. And while dealers are hoping for record sales like they’ve never seen before, they’ll have to do it while being closed this Saturday, while the Texans host a play off game at Reliant Stadium — something we’ve also never seen before.