For Wayne Schaldenbrand of Sunsation Boats in Algonac, Mich., 2012 was a year full of good times on and off the water. Much of the company’s efforts focused around building the new 34-foot center console, which Schaldenbrand said will debut at the Miami International Boat Show. At the same time, the company increased its workforce in order to produce its venerable 28- and 32-foot sport boats in conjunction with the new model.
In a phone call on New Year’s Eve, Schaldenbrand explained that he has double-digit orders for the 34-footer, “and not a one has rod holders in it,” he said alluding to the fact that “center console” doesn’t necessarily mean “fish boat” any longer. We can all guess what his high is for 2012.
High: For us, it’s been building the new center console. We’ve seen a shift of boaters who seem to be looking to slow down and relax a little bit. It helps that insurance is more affordable for a center console and that less maintenance is required. I’m really excited about this new boat coming out. We may even convert some of our 8-foot-beam boats into the center-console style. I’ve been working on some designs.
Low: I think the low is that we’re still losing half of our customer clientele because the banks still haven’t freed up any loan money. We have lost so many customers because of that. It’s not like we don’t have customers who would love to buy a new boat, it’s just that they aren’t able to buy another boat right now.