Citing a conflict of interest, Contender Boats recently announced it was parting ways with Boats Direct USA after a profitable four-year business partnership with the Key Largo, Fla.-based dealership. According to Boats Direct USA owner Mark Fischer, Contender president Joe Neber ended Contender’s relationship with the dealership claiming Boats Direct USA’s Deep Impact Custom Boats and Blackwater Boats competed directly with the Contender brand.
Boats Direct USA will roll out a new look for the Deep Impact Custom Boats line in Miami next February. Photo courtesy Boats Direct USA
The news stunned Fischer, who had worked hard to become one of the top Contender Boat outlets in the country. Fischer disagreed that a conflict existed because the Deep Impact and Blackwater brands, which are manufactured one boat at a time in Miami, are custom builds while Contender builds high-volume production boats.
“I wish them well as I will continue to focus on offering my customers the very best quality and prices on custom new boats and used boats for sale,” Fischer said, who was disappointed with the news but called it a back-handed compliment to the growing success of Boats Direct USA. “We have to take it as a compliment that the president of Contender Boats feels threatened by our Deep Impact and Blackwater custom boat brands. How else can you look at it?”
Over the years, Boats Direct USA worked hard to boost the Contender brand, Fischer said. Contender did not respond to an interview request before the story went live.
“We have spent thousands of dollars over the years marketing the Contender Boat brand because we believed in growing the company’s sales as well as our partnership,” said Fischer, who also owns OffLeaseOnly.com. “Our marketing hasn’t just helped Contender Boats grow their brand awareness in the Florida Keys market, but dealers nationwide have taken notice with the online presence that we have helped them create.”
Fischer said Boats Direct USA recently placed a large order of seven new Contender Boats when Neber decided to dissolve the partnership and cancel the order. Now, his company is working to strengthen its relationship with NauticStar Boats to offer potential boat buyers the nicest selection of new boats for sale in the 18- to 28-foot range.
“NauticStar Boats offer something that the masses want because of the modern styling, creature comforts, fit, finish and unbeatable price,” Fischer said. “These boats are perfect for any budget as they start at just $22,079 brand new! You truly can’t beat the value offered by NauticStar Boats.”
Fischer added that Deep Impact will debut its new look at the Miami International Boat Show in February.
“All we can say is jaws are going to drop as the already sleek and sexy custom center console will turn heads at the docks even more than it already does,” Fischer said.