At the Helm: 10 years of the Top 100

Back in 2005, Boating Industry started the Top 100 with a goal of elevating the industry. From the beginning the program has been not only about recognizing the top dealers in North America, but also sharing their best practices with other dealerships.

While the industry has changed drastically changed since then, the goals of the program have not. We’ve made numerous changes to the Top 100, but it’s still all about helping dealers become better.

As we continue to adapt the program for an evolving industry, we’re working to make sure it has value to the dealers who apply. The following are just a few of the changes in store for the program:

• New this year we’ll be offering a full marketing package including personalized videos for each Top 100 dealership, press releases, boat show sign templates and more. We’ll also be producing a marketing best practices guide showing how other Top 100 companies have leveraged their Top 100 status to grow their businesses.

• A new Top 100 benchmarking report will be provided only to dealers who apply. This exclusive data will help you see how you measure up against the best of the best.

• In honor of the first decade of the program, there will be special recognition of long-term members of the Top 100.

• We continue to simplify the application process. We eliminated several questions in 2013, reducing the length by about 20 percent.

• We continue to work on other new benefits as well, including plans to increase consumer awareness and special discounts for Top 100 companies. Stay tuned for updates.

All Top 100 companies will be recognized in the December issue of Boating Industry and on, as well as at the Top 100 Gala the last night of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, Nov. 19 in Orlando.

You can apply at

People often ask how we choose the Top 100 and rank the companies on the list. As we get ready to celebrate our 10th Top 100 later this year, I think it’s worth looking back on that first Top 100 and what the editors of Boating Industry wrote at the time:

This ranking, however, is much more about best practices and the ways in which these dealers earned that revenue and profitability than it is about dollar volume. It’s about their professionalism, their overall approach to conducting business, including everything from employee development to CSI strategies and marketing efforts. …

The common bond, however, that joins the Top 100 dealers is that each and every one of them truly delivers on the dream that is boating.

We couldn’t say it better ourselves.


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