Stronger economy powers boat show, sales

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Lansing’s annual boat show sets sail in downtown Lansing today.

It seems as though more people have the means to make some big purchases this year.

Michele Felton and her husband have been saving up to buy a boat for years.

“We feel really blessed and you know my husband works hard, I worked hard and we saved up and we’re just gonna, we’re gonna live it up!,” laughs Michelle.

And they aren’t the only ones in the market.

A crowd of potential new owners checked out the newest models today at the Lansing Boat Show.

For local boat dealers it’s about more than just gearing up for the summer months. It’s about a recovery in the boating industry since the late 2000s.

“The boat industry has definitely come back and we hit a low point in 2008 and it was tough and not everyone survived and now all of a sudden we have a big beautiful show with lots of dealers and lots of boats and its really great to see,” said a boat seller.

And this year local retailers are feeling optimistic.

“It looks like we’re off to a good start of the year. I think people seem to be quite enthused, they’re spending money, the banks are still very generous loaning money for boats,” said another boat seller.

So the boat show has something for first time buyers like the Feltons or those looking to upgrade like Michael Okkerse.

“We have an older boat that’s just a little small for the two kids and the dog. I had a boat and then I met my wife and so we’ve always enjoyed a boat and then with kids we just want them to experience that fun too. So, we have a blast on it,” Okkerse said.

The thing that everyone here has in common is thinking warm thoughts.

“This is people who really want to start the process of deciding if they want a new boat this year and some people just are looking for a nice pleasant way to spend a winter day,” said longtime boat seller Gary Krupa, president of Krupa Boat Mart.

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