More by luck than anything else I managed to avoid disaster. Jimmy Hoseason had changed the demographics of his customer base in an attempt to take on Freddy Laker at his own game, that was to prove a bad move. Dougy Rushmere at Ripplecraft was keen to expand so we let our boats go, thank goodness. Up to that point my souvenir shop was providing a more than reasonable living. For several years I'd been selling expensive, premium grade plush's, soft toys, that were incredibly realistic. As was the way of the industry I contracted to buy so much stock throughout the summer. At the start of that last, fateful season, the toy rep asked if he could sign me up at the same rate as the previous year, I said no, I had enough to last a couple of weeks, it actually took me all summer to sell those few leftovers. Thankfully a rich Londoner came along, wanting to buy into the lifestyle, so we sold the company and thank goodness we did. Astons at Beccles, plus most of the yards at Oulton Broad were wound up, no longer were our moorings full, fifty plus boats a night was the norm. The new owner often told me how he never came anywhere near to the turnover that we had achieved. Largely I managed to hang onto what I had but many of my friends didn't.
A change of customer base, crippling interest rates, the industry was struggling.
This time around the interest rates are low, at the moment, the bigger fleets are strong with some superb boats. People will be wary of foreign holidays, at least for a while, I do see some of the smaller businesses falling by the way, but the long established yards, especially those who own their freehold, will survive & flourish, of that I am confident. Following an enforced lock down I suspect people will be keen to take a holiday. My concern isn't so much for the big yards, my sympathies lie more with the pubs and attractions, many of whom rent their premises.