MRAA Advocacy Engages Avalon-Tahoe Dealers

As the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) continues to grow and work with all sectors of the industry, meshing directly with boat manufacturers is becoming an increasingly important method to engage new dealers. Presenting at dealer meetings is a great way for our team to meet potential members and highlight MRAA Membership benefits, while also fostering relationships with manufacturers and their integral dealer networks.

Boat dealers in conference room learning about 2024 models from boat manufacturer.
Avalon-Tahoe dealers hear from company leadership during day one of the dealer meeting.

Avalon Roots & Grassroots Advocacy
Mike Sayre, MRAA Director of Government Relations, and I were invited to the annual Avalon-Tahoe dealer meeting held at the company’s headquarters in Alma, Mich. This presented us with a chance to educate Avalon-Tahoe dealers about the importance of advocacy and to call them to action. Our team produced three presentation for dealers, providing an in-depth overview of the MRAA’s government relations engagements and relaying the message that dealer voices reinforce grassroots advocacy.

Topics included how to lobby and get engaged in advocacy and government affairs, from important issues the MRAA has engaged on like the Federal Trade Commission “Auto Rule,” boating access restrictions and more. Throughout the week, we highlighted the importance of dealer engagement in advocacy, noting that dealers provide a unique voice in these conversations. We also encouraged non-members to join the MRAA and our existing members to grow their engagement.

Pontoon boats sit in Avalon production facility for dealers to tour at 2024 Avalon-Tahoe dealer meeting in Michigan.
Completed Avalon pontoon boats that just rolled off the production line were on hand for walk-arounds.

Stop, Collaborate & Listen
The MRAA also collaborated with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to address shared advocacy resources like BoatPAC and Boating United. Our united front reminded both dealers and manufacturers of the importance of advocacy while emphasizing the integral role dealers play in every advocacy scenario.

The dealer meeting included an opportunity to tour the Avalon-Tahoe plant and learn the intricacies of building high-performance pontoons. Avalon-Tahoe is one of the only vertically integrated pontoon manufacturers in the nation, as they build most of their own components, employing a staff of more than 400. From rolling out their own pontoons to sewing components onsite, the manufacturer is focused on bringing as much of the production in-house. To satisfy the wide variety of end users of Avalon-Tahoe pontoons, the company focuses on constructing high-quality pontoon boats at varying price points.

Bearded man speaking to audience about importance of advocacy in boating during presentation.
Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager, discusses the importance of advocacy with Avalon-Tahoe dealers.

A Win for the Industry
The invitation to join the Avalon-Tahoe dealer show helped the MRAA advocacy team not only highlight our current efforts but also discuss advocacy contributions and commitments directly with dealers. That’s a win for boat dealers, a win for manufacturers and a win for the MRAA. Overall, the ability to connect on this level is a triumph for the marine industry.