Connecticut boat show draws a crowd

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A week after the Newport International Boat Show drew inviting weather and solid attendance to Rhode Island, the Norwalk International Boat Show in neighboring Connecticut continued the trend.

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Amid clear skies and crisp early fall weather, the docks were steady after a slow start on Thursday and overall show attendance increased by 12 percent this year, according to show manager Jonathan Pritko.

“Beautiful weekend weather and new family attractions drew crowds, and we received positive reports on sales and leads from dealers throughout the show,” Pritko told Soundings.

“Interest is up and it has expanded across the whole product line. It’s good to see,” said Greg Idol, a sales rep for Grady-White Boats. “We’re starting to see signs that we haven’t seen since ’08.”

From his perspective, and that of several other dealers at the show, the “payment buyer” has yet to return, but professionals and others who have fared well through the recession are the primary buyers in this market.

Overall, dealers say they’re seeing a clear trend among shoppers.

“Realistically, I think people are tired of not giving themselves a present,” said Dick Budka of Petzold’s Marine Center, which carries the Sabre and Back Cove lines, among others.