Why I Love Boat Shows: Q&A with Frigibar President Shuly Oletzky

Boat show season is in full swing and Frigibar is traveling across the world to bring the best in marine refrigeration to boat owners everywhere. From Newport to Amsterdam to right here in Florida (Miami and Fort Lauderdale), Frigibar President Shuly Oletzky will be at a half-dozen boat shows this season.

Frigibar has been featuring industry experts, boat-makers, and fishing teams in recent articles, so we thought we’d take a minute to sit down with Shuly to find out why she loves boat shows.

“Growing up as the daughter of the owner of a marine refrigeration company, going to boat shows was how I spent several weekends each year. Having attended around 100 shows, I’ve learned a lot and have grown to really appreciate the opportunities and atmosphere that are at every event.”


Here is what we asked Shuly and her responses:

Q: What’s your favorite boat show memory?

Shuly Oletzky (SO): Spending time with my family; my dad specifically. When I was younger, I stood back and watched and played around. As I got older, I was able to help, learn about the business, and learn about my dad.

We spent hours and hours together talking, working together, and building an even stronger relationship. These were truly special times and I’m so grateful for those experiences.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of a boat show?

SO: By far, the people are what I enjoy most. There are several aspects of each show that I love due to how they allow people; myself included, to connect, network, and make friendships with others.

It may be all about business for some, but to me it’s the whole package of business, friendships, and building relationships and trust.

Q: What other aspects of boat shows do you love?

SO: There are quite a few.

The environment. It’s electric! There isn’t anything that matches the fun environment of a boat show. Everyone is excited, learning and shopping for things they desire around a common interest. When you get a group of people together that are passionate about the same things, it’s impossible not to feed off of their energy.

It’s a social and recreational activity. I find the people that are passionate about boating, fishing, and sailing are typically very social people who enjoy being surrounded by others. They’re friendly and open to meeting strangers and sharing their experiences during their travels.

The chance to meet other people in the industry. As hard as you work at a show, you see people you’re only seeing a couple of times a year. Organizers build in a lot of recreational activities and social time, including receptions.

Q: Do you enjoy going to a boat show more as an exhibitor or attendee?

SO: Whether I’m attending as an exhibitor or an attendee, I thoroughly enjoy these shows. As an attendee, I get to see customers and partners who I wouldn’t be able to meet with when I am exhibiting and spending most of my time in my booth. Going as an attendee also provides a great opportunity to make new B2B connections, as the other exhibitors don’t always get a chance to visit other booths during the show.

Q: How can exhibitors take advantage of shows?

SO: Be present and don’t consider your time at the show the same you would a normal work day. You have to try to limit your distractions and be accessible for attendees to meet and connect with you. If you’re disconnected, you’ll miss opportunities.

I want to be able to help everyone I can, even if it’s just to direct them to other booths they are looking for or tell them where the bathrooms are. If I’m buried in paperwork behind a table, no one will get the chance to meet me or feel comfortable coming up to me.

Q: What should attendees do to make the most of an event?

SO: Why are you going? Have your goals defined and plan ahead.

Know exactly what you want out of the show, and try to get this information early so you can relax and enjoy the rest of the show. Show producers want you to find what you are looking for, and so do the exhibitors! Take advantage of show guides, information booths, apps, show websites and staff walking the show to help make your experience a great one.

Q: If speaking to someone who has never attended a show, why should they go?

SO: Shows are a great overview of the industry and a very convenient way to get a lot done in a short amount of time. You have the opportunity to talk to multiple vendors in one place instead of making five different phone calls or trying to drive out to meet with them in person at their physical locations. For businesses like Frigibar who don’t have a store, shows are a wonderful opportunity for customers and vendors to see our products outside of visiting a partner who showcases our products or seeing it on a friend’s boat.

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