There are fewer exhibitors at this week’s Chicago Boat, RV and Outdoors Show at McCormick Place, but organizers hope warmer weather (it’s almost 32 degrees, after all) will push attendance to 45,000, where it was last year, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
This year’s show has 250 boat and RV exhibitors, down from 300 last year, a result of the recession that saw discretionary income disappear.
Last year’s show also was affected by super-cold weather, so organizers hope this weekend’s forecast brings out buyers.
“I’ve already sold five boats, and it’s not even the weekend. That’s when people really buy,” Warren Moulis told me this morning before today’s 11 a.m. opening.
By Sunday, Moulis hopes to have sold 30 to 50 boats. “The weather’s going to be a tremendous help. Last year was miserable. We’re hoping this year that people get out of their houses.”
A third-generation owner of Fox Lake Harbor near Gurnee, Moulis is one boat dealer who has survived the recession. His company is diversified: Along with selling a range of boats — from speed boats to pontoons — Fox Lake Harbor offers boat slips, a service department and storage.
The boat and RV show, which opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday, also has a lot of bells and whistles to attract passive boating fans.
The 80th Annual Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show runs Jan. 13-17 at McCormick Place, offering the largest selection of boats, RVs and marine accessories in the Midwest, according to a news release.
The show is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the world’s largest producer of boat shows. NMMA is the leading association representing the $33.6-billion-per-year recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80% of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in North America.
For more information about NMMA, visit www.NMMA.org.