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Dealer Week’s online format attracts new dealers

MINNEAPOLIS – Nov. 13, 2020 – Nearly 40 percent of the dealer registrants for Dealer Week 2020 will be attending the annual conference of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas for the first time.

Through the first week of November, a total of 23 dealership entities that have never attended the event were registered to participate, representing about 15 percent of the total dealership entities. To date, more than 530 dealership personnel, representing 437 individual dealership locations are already represented by Dealer Week registrants and of the total registered to date, 39.7 percent will be first-time attendees.

“With Dealer Week moving to an online format, we expected to see a significant increase in first-time attendees this year,” says Matt Gruhn, MRAA President. “The virtual platform just makes it so much more accessible than it has ever been, and with such an enormous need for real world solutions as we look toward 2021, we expect the number of first-timers to continue to grow.”

The ease of access to the online educational programming has encouraged several dealerships to register more attendees than they normally would, as well as generated registrations from dealerships and dealership personnel who have never attended an MRAA annual conference. In fact, five of the first registrants to sign up after the announcement of going virtual were dealers who either had never been to the event or had not attended in nearly a decade.

“I’ve wanted to come to Dealer Week the last few years,” said Andy Yeaman, owner of Hughes Marine Service, Danville, Va., who has registered his dealership for Dealer Week for the first time. “We have good friends who attend every year, and they told us about a lot of the seminars and what they took from them. We’ve reached a point where we’ve grown tremendously and, of course, there are growing pains along with that. I have questions like, ‘at what point, with this type of volume, do I need to add more people?’ I think people who attend Dealer Week, who have been through that type of growth, could help me.”

“I haven’t been to the conference in a few years,” says Will Massey, owner of Custom Marine in Statesboro, Ga. “To be honest, as a business owner, it might seem a little unusual, but I’m not the networking, shake-hands kind of fella, but I really do appreciate training, new ideas and systems and processes. It’s been a few years since I’ve been, so it’s probably time to get back, and I now have some really good folks on my team that need to be involved. They’ve been going to 20 Group meetings with me and that sort of thing, and they need to be taking these training courses.”

Dealer Week offers more than 30 educational sessions that will share insights, ideas and inspiration for attacking the ever-changing market place in 2021. With a focus on helping dealers strengthen their systems and processes, the management of their teams, and the customer experiences they deliver, the event offers a live feed of the education Dec. 8-11, 2020, and then all educational courses will remain available to registrants through March 31, 2021.

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit or contact us at 763-315-8043.

About Dealer Week For more than 40 years, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has delivered world class educational programming to dealers, retailers and service operations that power the boating industry and serve today’s boaters. Dealer Week evolves as MRAA’s rebranded and reimagined annual conference and expo, a profoundly new event experience designed to engage, energize and empower the dealer community. The MRAA envisions a brighter future for marine retail, and Dealer Week is the preeminent means for bringing that vision to life. Learn more at

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