Le Boat inroads to Smiths Falls ‘absolutely incredible,’ president says

Le Boat President Cheryl Brown addresses the Leeds-Grenville Economic Development Summit in Kemptville, Ont. on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Brown is overjoyed with their expansion into Canada on the Rideau Canal and hopes to accelerate their expansion going forward. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

KEMPTVILLE — “You’ve made my dream come true.”

Those words sum up the feeling from Le Boat President Cheryl Brown on their expansion into Canada with self-driving boat tours along the Rideau Canal.

The expansion of the boat rental company was three years in the making.

Speaking at the 10th annual Leeds-Grenville Economic Development Summit Friday, Brown said 16 boats in the first year along the Rideau have already translated into Canada making up two per cent of their market and two per cent of destination requests.

“On day one we were already 15 per cent sold.”

“I can’t wait to see what this pie (chart) is going to look like in five years time,” she said.

They plan on bringing four more boats next year as well as opening a satellite office in Seeley’s Bay. Le Boat’s Canadian headquarters are in Smiths Falls.

While the projection is to have 32 boats by year five, Brown would like to see that happen by the third year.

“You’ve been so open for Le Boat,” Brown beamed.

The company brought its signature “floating condo” called the Horizon, which Brown said is the most customer friendly and simplest boat to drive in their fleet.

Le Boat estimates its bringing around $1.6 million into the Leeds-Grenville economy and that will expand $3.5 million by the fifth year. The average spend for a Le Boat customer is just over $800.

“I was talking to a lot of the business who were telling me, Cheryl I’m selling five times the dresses that I did the previous year. I’m selling so much more provisioning food. The restaurants are full of Le Boat customers. It’s really quite exciting and hopefully you can all start to feel that,” Brown said.

Further solidifying its hold in Canada, Le Boat closed its sales and marketing office in October 2017 and moved it from Clearwater, Fla. to Smiths Falls, Ont.

“To see what we’ve achieved to date is absolutely incredible.”

Le Boat operates in 13 countries with 70 per cent of its business in France. Germans are its largest customer base.

Brown made a special trip from the United Kingdom to make the presentation in Kemptville.

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