At the Helm: A decade of Top 100

Jonathan Sweet

This month we honor the Boating Industry Top 100 – the best boat dealers in North America.

But as we celebrate the 10th year of the program, it’s worth remembering the Top 100 is about more than just recognizing the best of the best. It’s also about sharing their best practices to improve the businesses of the thousands of dealers across North America.

You can learn some of those Top 100 “Success Secrets” starting on p. 8, but we also share them through webinars, white papers and more – most of which you can find on our website.

It’s these best practices, from marketing to customer service to sales, that help the Top 100 continue to outpace the industry’s growth. As a whole, retail expenditures on boating were up 3.5 percent in 2013. At the same time, the Top 100 dealers increased revenue by 13 percent on average, which was the third year in a row of double-digit growth. The Top 100 and the four Hall of Fame companies represent more than $2.1 billion in total revenue.

We’ve ranked the Top 20 this year from No. 1 to No. 20, with Gordy’s Lakefront Marine of Fontana, Wis., capturing Dealer of the Year honors for the first time. Beyond the Top 20, we’ve listed the other 80 dealers in alphabetical order.

We’ve also called out 12 companies for special recognition beyond the Top 100. Eight companies earned “Best in Class” honors for their success in specific areas of their business from service to industry involvement to training. The editorial team each also picked one team from outside of the Top 20 that they felt was worthy of special recognition for their overall business success.


Finally, I want to be sure to thank the group of manufacturers and service providers that make the Top 100 program possible. The Top 100 Leadership Alliance supports the program, and the entire industry, throughout the year.

It is this Leadership Alliance — GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance, Manheim Specialty Auctions, Volvo Penta, Brunswick Dealer Advantage, Sunbrella Marine, Freedom Boat Club and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas – that make it possible to recognize the top dealers in North America and share their best practices with the entire industry.


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