Tom Allen of Zelienople and his two toddlers were at the 2011 Pittsburgh Boat Show because, well, because they'd been kicked out of the house by their stir-crazy wife and mother.
Susie Nuzum, of Fairmont, W.Va., was there "to hang out" with her beau of three years, confirmed boater Jim Uhler, also of Fairmont.
Kelly Elkin, of Rural Valley, has in-laws with a boat and her parents are looking to buy. Pregnant and mother of a toddler, Ms. Elkin said the sight of all the boats in the Monroeville Convention Center was putting her "in this mind of spring. I can picture being in a boat on the Allegheny. It gets all my thoughts away from snow."
But, said vendors, there were lots of people interested in buying boats, period, during the show that ran Thursday through Sunday.
"People are here because they're buying excitement," said Phil St. Moritz, who splits residences between Jefferson Hills and Deep Creek, Md., and owns Bill's Marine Service, in Oakland, Md., which sells boats, boat motors and personal watercraft.
"We've had very good activity. I think we've inked three deals already that we've sold and we have another five or so very strong, potential customers. There's more activity this year than last year, maybe because there's a slight improvement in the economy and because people want to have fun."
Scott Terpenning, head of Dollar Bank loan center activities, had a similar observation.
"We've had three or four takers [on boat purchase loans]," he said. "It's definitely more crowded today. These are nice shoppers. They're serious shoppers or ready to buy."
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