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Boat show brings business to Quinte mall

By Megan Voss

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (03/02/12) - Steve Smart poses in front of one of his boats at the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ont. during a boat show. He and his wife own Smart's Marina in Cloyne, Ont. and have been members of the boat show for eight years. Photo by Megan Voss.

The ships have sailed again at the Quinte Mall.

For the past 15 to 20 years, more than just a few boats have been anchored throughout the aisles during the mall’s annual boat show.

From Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, many local businesses filled the space between stores, advertising a variety of different kinds of boats.

Steve Smart is in his eighth year at the boat show. Although the hours are long, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, he said it is worth it.

“It’s a positive effect to be at the show,” he said.

“We get exposure that we don’t normally get.”

Erin Graham is, administrative assistant for the Quinte Mall, agreed the boat show is a draw for the mall.

“It’s an annual event that people look forward to,” she said. “It brings in more than just regular shoppers.”

“It’s a different level of advertising – we try to bring in local businesses, “ Graham added.

Smart and his wife, Pauline, own Smart’s Marina Ltd. on Mazinaw Lake, which sells several different kinds of boats, as well as providing rentals, service, cleaning, and boat storage.

Smart described the new technology out there for boats and how people have been looking for fancy gadgets as of late. They include special lighting effects such as moody lighting on the boat, lights installed under the boat to light up the water around it during the night, and illuminated cup holders.

“It’s a trend that comes from the automotive industry,” he said, adding that boats are usually a year behind.

However, some of the new technologies are a bit more practical. The new boats coming out are more environmentally friendly and leaner.

He also spoke about the effect of the “bad” winter this year. Many outdoor businesses use the sales they get selling winter leisure equipment to buy boats for the summer, and because of the warm weather, the sales have been down.

However, Smart said the warm winter creates more interest and that the boating season may start earlier. He hopes that he will be able to get some deals on paper and have the boats available to buyers by May.