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Business Strong For Marinas Early

Some local businesses, like Ready About Marina in Celoron, have been able to weather the economic storm of COVID-19 early this summer due to strong boat sales. P-J photo by Jay Young

Business for local marinas has continued to come in at a high pace in recent weeks, despite COVID-19 shutdowns and early season growth of curlyleaf pondweed.

Boat sales, service and rentals are three of the main drivers for marina owners throughout the summer.

“Absolute chaos, we are running out of boats,” said Nick Matteo, manager of Smith Boys. “People are spending money like crazy. Sales and service are way up, rentals we just started them this week but we sold 50 boats in two and a half weeks–50. I think people just want to be on the water. I’ve heard that it’s because people aren’t really vacationing, they’re kind of doing their own thing.”

With Chautauqua Institution being forced to shut down its season and vacationing families having to deal with COVID-19 restrictions, there has been speculation about the economic impact for the boating industry.

So far, the impact does not appear to be all negative.

“Business has been surprisingly strong since we came back to work,” said Greg Swan, owner of Ready About Marina in Celoron. “We shut down over the winter, and by the time we started coming back to work, I would say especially for boat sales, it has been very strong. I think that is true for pretty much everybody.”

Swan mentioned the increased free time that has been created during the pandemic, as well as economic considerations, as possible drivers for good business.

“I think it is all about that. Plus maybe some of the stimulus money everybody received and maybe some of the unemployment benefits that happened,” Swan said. “I think those are all contributing factors. Our service level is better than I thought it would be after Chautauqua (Institution) announced it is closing. We do a lot of work for Chautauqua people and their boats here. I’m going to say maybe one-third of them didn’t put their boat in this year, they are still in storage. That kind of hurt our service side, but all in all I’m reasonably satisfied with this year compared with previous years, just in the overall sense.”

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