New owner: Southport ‘too good to pass up’ — Page 10 Quarterly reports give reason to cheer — Page 26 BRASS BONANZA March 2012 ® Highest per-capita GDP in the world among metropolitan areas Source: Brookings Institution WWW.TRADEONLYTODAY.COM $ 5.00 $75,086 $74,057 $68,141 Abu Dhabi (UAE) $63,859 San Jose, Calif. Oslo, Norway $63,555 Champagne marinas, beer budgets Speakers at IMBC paint a picture of demanding clients, sluggish revenues INSIDE Lawyers are busy Bankruptcy proceedings involving Fountain Powerboats again are cloud-ing the company’s future, while MarineMax is sued by the previous owners of its big New York dealer-ship, Surfside 3. Pages 24 and 25 M arina operators face a post-recession dilemma: They must make their fa-cilities more attractive without sig-nificant revenue increases to offset the costs. That was the challenge posed Feb. 1-3 by speakers at the International Marina & Boat-yard Conference in Orlando, Fla. “Client expectations have never been high-er,” says consultant Bruce Lunde. Managers should try to create an “aura” — an ambience that draws people in, says Lun-de’s colleague, Dan Williams. This becomes even more important when fuel prices spike and the marina becomes a destination rather than an embarkation point. On the positive side, the challenge can be met if undertaken in small steps, says Lunde. “Just think about where you want to be in five years and do it incrementally,” he says. See senior writer Jim Flannery’s full report. Page 20 Splash at shows There were positive waves at the Providence (R.I.) and Hartford (Conn.) boat shows, but the outpour-ing at the big Atlanta show was literal and nearly catastrophic — 90,000 gallons of water on the floor. Pages 30-32 Fuels of the future? Trinity Yachts, the big Gulf Coast builder, says it now has the technol-ogy and expertise to build super-yachts powered by liquefied natural gas, and a Los Angeles company is pitching propane outboards. Page 34 Movement on the marine loan front Two banks may enter floorplan field; dealers see evidence of a retail credit easing T here are signs of life in the long-stagnant marine fi-nance markets. Although it looks as if GE Capital will remain the only national floorplan lender for the foreseeable future, two Midwestern banks reportedly are “in the very early stages” of entering the market on a regional basis. On the retail side, the National Marine Bankers Associa-tion’s latest quarterly poll of boat dealers finds a growing be-lief that loan criteria are loosening, although not nearly to their “loose and fast and furious” pre-recession levels. In her spot check of the lending industry, writer Reagan Haynes finds that a continuing problem is the preponder-ance of upside-down loans. “The real problem is nobody’s got any equity in their trades, and that’s going to be the case for the next few years,” says banker Don Parkhurst. That, he says, remains “the biggest impediment in the marine world.” Page 18 ADVERTISING SPECIAL Dealer Recruitment HEARD IT HERE FIRST “Someone said, ‘The show will have to be canceled,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely not. We’ll have this show open in three to four hours.’ ” — Atlanta Boat Show manager Larry Berryman, after 90,000 gallons of water spilled onto the floor As the economy inches forward, man-ufacturers are reaching out to dealers to help their causes. If you are a deal-er, check out our Dealer Recruitment section starting on Page 39. Bridgeport (Conn.) Hartford, Conn.