I had the privilege of visiting seven dealers in the state of Wisconsin last week: Nestegg Marine, Shipyard Marine, Gage Marine, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Reed’s Marine, Don’s Marine and SkipperBud’s of Madison. I am thankful each dealer took the time to let me tour their facilities during an incredibly busy time while getting boats ready for the short season of the Midwest.
Everyone was enthusiastic about their business and its potential coming out of the recession. All dealers reported excellent years so far. Hopefully the feeling in Wisconsin is matched throughout the country.
What truly stood out during my visit was that what makes a “great dealer” is not easily defined by one or two items. Each of these dealers was unique in its scope, location, brands and customer base, and yet all of them were impressive in their own right.
While the dealers all excelled in several areas, I left with a key takeaway from each tour.
- At Nestegg Marine, I saw first-hand what it looks like to truly value safety and compliance. Nestegg was able to increase its OSHA compliance across the business by 50 percentage points, a growing concern for the marine industry.
- Shipyard Marine’s events diversity and marketing for said events was creative and fresh, drawing customers in and creating a culture of service that breeds raving fans.
- Gage Marine has a diverse profile with its restaurant, marina, boating classes, historic cruises and more that attract a variety of customers.
- Gordy’s Lakefront Marine runs one of the tightest ships I have seen in relation to its processes and service. The parts department’s organization was a thing of beauty to behold.
- At Reed’s Marine, every employee was exceptionally friendly, providing top-notch service and showing true care for his or her work.
- Don’s Marine showed a dedication to ensuring any service job that came through the dealership was done right the first time and fully satisfied the customer, particularly with the use of its testing pool.
- And at SkipperBud’s, employees raved about their jobs and how enabled they felt to make decisions to help the business succeed.