With another pandemic summer likely on the horizon, boat sales surge in Saskatoon
SASKATOON -- Father and son duo Glen and Tyler Evans are more than staying afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former farmers decided to start selling and fixing boats 11 years ago, opening a dealership in Saskatoon.
Being a seasonal business in a province with a short summer wasn’t without its difficulties, but this past year has seen business boom.
“We’re finding that because of COVID, people are focusing on doing the things that they are allowed to do with restrictions like get outside more,” Tyler Evans, Owner GT Performance told CTV News.
He says they are seeing the highest number of sales ever at this early stage in the season with 80 per cent of their inventory already spoken for. That compares with only about 25 per cent other years.
He says because supply is low for new boats it’s causing a huge demand across the market.
“The mood of everyone coming in, isn’t what will this boat do for me, the first question is, is this available,” Evans said.
If something is available, customers are buying instantly - sometimes without seeing it.
Some are previous boat owners and some are brand new, giving boating and surfing a try for the first time.
Usually Evans switches up the boats he displays in his showroom regularly, but this year it doesn’t matter what he displays because whatever he has will be going out the door with new owners for the May long weekend.
He has even been recommending other dealerships to customers because it’s so busy.
Normally half their business comes from Alberta, but since they want to help Saskatchewan buyers they’re no longer selling out of province.
Not only that, but parts are more difficult to get, with many made in China. Service manager Robbie Glass said he’s still waiting for parts he ordered last March.
Dean Lang bought a boat recently from the dealership. After using his family boat more than ever last summer, he decided to trade up.
“There’s so many variables right now with COVID. With the high demand for boats and the used boat market so strong we knew this was a good time to get a new boat,” Lang said.
Those at GT Performance realize that this pandemic boom in boat sales won’t last for ever, but they are confident that when the pandemic ends, those who bought into the boat lifestyle will realize how great it is and view it as a long term investment and a lifestyle change.