Wisconsin boat dealers happy with unseasonable tempsThe unseasonably warm weather has been a boon for lakeside communities.
By: By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The unseasonably warm weather has been a boon for lakeside communities. Boat retailers are reporting a double-digit increase in sales. At the Zacho Sports Center in Chippewa Falls a few customers meander through a showroom full of boats, pontoons, motorcycles and ATVs. It seems like a quiet day but Marine Sales Manager Guy Wayne says boat sales are up 60 percent compared to last year.
"The warm weather obviously has an impact," he says. "People aren't trapped in their homes and worried about shoveling snow. They're certainly thinking spring a lot sooner than they usually do."
A week of record breaking temps in the Chippewa Valley area dealt a final blow to the ice cover on Lakes Wissota and Altoona. Wayne says he heard that a boat was on the water a half an hour after the ice was out.
Farther north in the Hayward area, there's still plenty of lake ice to be found. But boat salesman Irish McNamee of Hayward Power Sports expects it to disappear within a week or two. And he says the recent warm temps and an improving economy are pushing herds of boating enthusiasts through the doors.
"We've had probably more inquiries and more people looking than we've had in the last ten years," he says.
In the southeast, Lake Winnebago is ice free and Sweetwater Performance Center Sales Manager Scott Buchinger says boaters are taking advantage of the early season.
"We just saw boats moving up and down the river on the Fox River here in Oshkosh today. It gets your blood pumping, it gets you ready to go out and do some boating ourselves," he says.
Buchinger says sales are up about 33 percent over last year and customers who bought their boats during the winter are asking for delivery nearly a month earlier than scheduled.