More than 100 new dealers welcomed
By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Larson Boat Group has added 130 new dealers to the network since January 2010, and they were welcomed during the annual dealer meeting and centennial celebration Monday at the Rivers Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Dealers were then given the opportunity to ride new models at the Larson Boats headquarters in Little Falls.
Dave and Sue Gouveia of Penrose, Colo. have owned a boat dealership for 33 years. Dave managed Cañon Marine for 24 years before buying it nine years ago.
“I started working with Larson in 1989 until about 2000,” Dave said. “But with the Colorado drought and nationwide economic issues, we didn’t handle Larson boats for a few years; no one was buying runabouts.”
In 2009, the Gouveias came back onboard with Larson Boats, because they knew the product, the models, and it was time to get back into fiberglass boats.
“I love all the history with Larson Boats. My parents brought their first Larson boat home when I was three,” said Dave. “I got a boat before I got my first car.”
“Boating is a big part of our lifestyle,” Sue said. “Cañon Marine’s motto is ‘where families and fun come together’ and seeing all the nostalgia items on display — old photos, skis, belts, swimsuits — it’s all so family-oriented.”
“We’ve been to a lot of different dealer meetings but with Larson there’s no big hoopla or smoke,” she said. “They cut to the chase.”
Sue pointed out that boat dealers have survived the last three or four years, with 50 to 70 percent of the industry gone now. She found it exciting that Larson is trying to be ahead of the wave.
“They’re not just surviving, but stretching,” she said. “We succeed best if the manufacturer promotes their product well,” Sue said.
Upholstery shop manager Roy Frerich, a Larson Boats employee since March 1966 worked with Paul Larson.
“Every day has been a good day — you take the good with the bad, and there have been many more good than bad,” he said. “There have been many changes over the years, but this year Larson redeveloped the whole line, with new interiors, new exteriors, new graphics and new models. I honestly believe this will be the year for sales.”