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Barletta President Bill Fenech Issues MRAA Support Challenge

Thursday, October 15, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mickaela Hilleren
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Barletta Boats President Bill Fenech has issued a challenge to marine industry businesses to “step up” and support the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas financially.

Watch the video challenge here.

In what has otherwise been a record-setting year for the boat business, the MRAA’s annual revenue has taken a major hit on the heels of announcing that its Dealer Week annual conference would move to a virtual environment. The conference, which accounts for 70 percent of the MRAA’s annual revenue, does not provide for the same level of revenue potential that an in-person event offers.

To make matters worse, MRAA has not been eligible, due to its status as a 501-c-6 organization, for the stimulus loans that the federal government made available to most every other small business and non-profit.

“That’s scary for our industry,” Fenech noted in his challenge video. “We’re having very strong years in our industry, yet MRAA isn’t able to participate in that growth and success. So, it dawned on me that we just can’t let this slip. MRAA’s doing such a great job … and so I called Matt (Gruhn) and talked to my team and said, ‘can we do a challenge or how can I help?’”

Fenech, whose Barletta Boat Co. is already a Platinum Partner member of the MRAA and continues to support Dealer Week, has made a $25,000 donation to MRAA as a challenge to others. “I hope you’ll find it in your hearts and in your pocket books to take some action and send some money to MRAA,” stated Fenech.

Support MRAA here.

The MRAA is a non-profit trade association created and operated entirely to support boat and engine dealers across North America. The organization advocates for dealerships and other industry business, protecting them from unwarranted regulation and legislation, and provides them with educational programming that sets dealerships up for success. All funding that the organization receives through membership, Dealer Week, Certification or donations, is reinvested back into the industry. With the current revenue shortfall, the organization has been forced to dip into its reserves.

“Our team’s entire focus here at the MRAA is to give back to our industry, and each member of this team delivers on that mission with incredible passion,” explained MRAA President Matt Gruhn. “When Bill first entered the industry, he committed to me and the organization that he would always be dealer-first in his approach to the business, and he’s lived up to that at every turn. To quote him from that first conversation when he called to offer his support and this challenge, ‘this fundraiser is not about Bill or Barletta. It’s not about Matt. It’s about our dealers and the organization that does so much to help them.’”

If you’d like to contribute to this effort to prop up the MRAA and the work it does on behalf of our dealers and our industry, you can visit There, you can join MRAA as a member or renew your dues; you can register for Dealer Week, which is now online and easier for you to participate in than ever before; and you can offer support in the form of a monetary donation.

“On behalf of my team and the tireless work they put into serving our dealers through the crisis months of March and April 2020 and through the craziness of this past summer, we thank you for any way you can support our mission,” Gruhn says. “And our mission is literally your success, so I think we can all agree that that’s a mission worth supporting.”

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, contact us at 763-315-8043.

About Barletta Boats
Barletta Pontoon Boats burst onto the scene in January of 2018 when they were awarded the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Innovation Award for Pontoon Boats with their first-ever pontoon boat, the L-Class L25UC. Barletta has also been awarded the NMMA Customer Satisfaction Award in its first two years of production. Supported by a dealer network that is arguably the envy of the industry, Barletta has created a pontoon boat and customer experience second to none. For more information about Barletta Pontoon Boats, visit

8401 73rd Avenue North, Suite 71, Minneapolis, MN 55428