The past few years have been tough on many industries, including boat retailers. During the recession many families put off big purchases, like boats. Midwest Boats, a Cedar Falls business, felt the pinch.
"From 2006, we did see our sales drop and everything through 2007 and 8," said Terry Kuchenberg, Owner.
But so far this year, the company is having great luck at trade shows. They signed 14 contracts at a January boat show in Cedar Falls and closed another four deals this weekend at the Cedar Rapids Sportshow.
"Most of the time if we can sign even one contract we're happy at a show," said Kuchenberg. "This year we're ecstatically happy about what we've seen."
Midwest Boats isn't the only company reporting a spike in sales. R&L Marine in Cedar Rapids also had a lot of prospective buyers stop by at the show.
"It's been a really good show for us," said Rick Karr, Owner of R&L Marine. "We are real excited about the economy. We've sold a couple units. I'm very excited about what we've seen at this show."
The show's promoters say attendance at the Cedar Rapids Sportshow was about the same as it was last year. The key difference this year was that attendees seemed more willing to buy.
"People are a little bit more confident with the economy," said Marty Bunge, Iowa Show Productions. "They might have held off on buying a new boat or trading for several years and now's the time to do it. Pricing has been really good from the boat dealers and the R-V dealers. And so that makes a big difference when you're looking to buy."
Consumers are noticing. Aaron Smith has been wanting a new boat for about a year and thinks now might be the time to buy.
"The packages on them are cheaper now," said Smith, of Springville. "There's a lot of rebates."
So while the past five years have been tough on these retailers, they feel business is finally turning around.
The Cedar Rapids Sportshow ended today, but the Eastern Iowa Sportshow is coming up.