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Continued: Vendors optimistic as Minneapolis Boat Show opens

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 30, 2014 - 8:02 AM

Moving into online sales

On the retail side, John Wooden’s boating business, River Valley Power & Sports, has found success by going beyond his three retail locations in Red Wing, Rochester and Minnetonka. “I don’t wait for customers to come into my bricks and mortar,” he said. “I’ve embraced Internet advertising. We sell a lot of boats to customers who never even enter our stores.”

The result: Revenue has tripled in less than five years, he said.

But Wooden’s choices for inventory also help. With an assortment ranging from power sport boats to pontoons, he sells entry-level watercraft for less than $20,000 as well as the more common sweet spot of $30,000 to $40,000. Five years ago, he jumped onto the pontoon bandwagon at a time when few dealers were. Pontoons now represent about one in five boat registrations compared with one in 12 in 2006, according to Info-Link. He also sells ATVs and snowmobiles to supplement the offseason.

“With low interest rates, more secure jobs and healthy 401(k)s, people are feeling like it’s OK to have fun and recreate again,” he said.

 

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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  • Chart: Minneapolis Boat Show info

    Tuesday January 28, 2014

    Boat Show opens ThursdayWhere: Minneapolis Convention CenterHours: Thursday, 2-9 p.m.; Friday, noon-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Admission: Adults...

  • Rob Salber, left, and Noah Wojahn installed a wakeboard rack on a Larson boat at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Minneapolis Boat Show opens Thursday.

  • Joe Dumond waxed outboard motors Wednesday at the Route 66 Marine North display at the Minneapolis Convention Center in advance of the Minneapolis Boat Show.

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