You can't buy generals in a general store, as you know, but if you want a Ford you go to a Ford dealer.
And it's the same now with Whittley runabouts, as Australia's largest trailable fibreglass boatbuilder opened a factory-owned retail outlet this week to service the region stretching from Lake Macquarie to northern NSW.
Called Whittley NSW Sales Newcastle, it's in Beresfield, with sales, service, and a smattering of used boats.
Taking a leaf out of the motoring industry's book, the dealership sells Whittleys and Whittleys only when it comes to new boats, packaging them as a drive-away, boat-motor-trailer (BMT) package with Volvo Penta sterndrives or Mercury outboards, Mackay trailers and Garmin or Fusion electronics.
You get the confidence of dealing with sales staff who are focused on selling one product only, and the factory connection continues through the build process to hand-over and on-water tuition, plus maintenance and warranty.
It challenges the conventional marine retail model where independent dealers sell competing brands and powerplants under one roof, taking responsibility for packaging and servicing away from the builder while adding a sales commission to the price tag.
Managing the Beresfield site is industry identity John Cohen who brings more than 35 years of experience in both trailerboat sales and service.
"The time was right for me to jump aboard and share my knowledge of trailerboats and the Whittley product, and offer a unique new boat-buying experience," Cohen says.
Managing director Neville Whittley adds: "With John's appointment to this role, he joins his two sons, Damon and Brock, in the Whittley NSW Sales and Service team across two locations in Sydney and Newcastle.
"Newcastle and surrounding waterways are widely regarded as one of NSW's premier trailer boat destinations, both offshore and through the lakes systems. The establishment of the Newcastle-based dealership ensures Whittley will have an increased presence in such a focal boating destination.
"We look forward to continuing to grow and expand the Whittley brand in the market. With 12 new boats already sold before the new yard is officially opened, we're excited with what Whittley NSW Sales Newcastle will offer to customers in 2021 and beyond."
A third-generation family- and Australian-owned company based in Melbourne, Whittley has been building premium quality boats for over 65 years. It shot to prominence in the 1990s with a succession of Boat of the Year awards - primarily for its superbly finished trailable cruisers.
These were like Swiss Army knives, with brilliant space utilisation to allow comfortable overnighting. Lift the helm seat, for example, and you could warm the kettle and cook eggs bene on a concealed stove.
The brand has since branched into the family fishing market with its popular FF and SL ranges. All 13 models are legally trailable without over-width towing restrictions, enabling customers to haul them anywhere, anytime with a suitable vehicle.
"With the recent change from Yamaha to Mercury outboards, we look forward to displaying the exciting range of 2021 models, ranging in price from $47,990 to over $250,000. They're undercover and in a boat show sales environment all year round," Cohen says.
While the doors are open now, they're planning a "Grand Opening Sales Weekend" in October where the public will be lured in with discounted deals.
If you can't visit in person, Whittley's website also gives customers an in-dealership experience online.
The address is Unit 4/1 Kullara Close, Beresfield - near Weakleys Drive and John Renshaw Drive roundabout.
Telephone 0421 922 650, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visitwhittleymarinegroup.com.au for more information.
Decked out for safety
In a safety first, 'scuse the pun, Newcastle-based Deckee has announced a new partnership with the Boating Industry Association (BIA) to collaborate on promoting safe boating and responsible boat ownership across Australia.
Under the agreement, Deckee becomes the recommended boating app of the BIA, which is the peak industry body working with government authorities to address boating safety, waterways infrastructure and access to waterways.
It's an important move, when you consider more than 20% of Aussies engage in some form of boating activity annually.
"Our mission at Deckee is to keep everyone safe and informed on the water," Deckee founder and CEO Mike McKiernan said of his cloud-based app. "By forging this alliance with the BIA, we can now increase the impact our technology is having on the waterways."
Neil Patchett, co-general manager of the BIA, added: "In recent years Deckee has proven itself to be in a class of its own when it comes to leveraging smart phone technology to enhance boating safety strategies and keep the public safer on Australia's waterways."
Deckee will work with the Association to educate the public about boating safety via the Deckee platform in new and innovative ways, complementing the BIA's own Discover Boating campaign and other online initiatives such as the lifejackets.org.au website.
Download the Deckee app for free via Google Play or the Apple App store or visit www.deckee.com.
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