“The first 10 years were easy,” says Redline Watersports Owner Paul Vitucci half-jokingly. “It’s getting to the 11th that’s going to be tough.”
That’s why he has asked his staff to refocus on the basics and implement what he calls “the Disney model of business.”
Vitucci explains that at Disney World, everything is happy and fun, but in the tunnels underneath, there’s a well-oiled and extremely regimented machine that creates the loose, happy feeling on the surface. He drills that analogy into his staff because their job is to bring boats alive for customers and show how they can enhance a person’s life.
“They don’t need the boats,” he says, “but they need the psychological offset that boating offers.”
Only one member of Redline’s staff is over 30 — the 32-year-old lead salesman — and that is by design. Vitucci wants to present the boating lifestyle as young, fun and hip, but emphasizes that his staff knows their stuff.
Unlike some dealerships, Redline is focused almost entirely on one brand, MasterCraft, which Vitucci says makes it the boating equivalent of your local Harley dealer. That ability to narrowly focus its efforts has been a key to its success, and has only intensified this past year. Floods in south-central Wisconsin effectively closed Redline during June and July right before the economy fell off, and the dealership has gutted its expenses, cut back hours of operation and reduced winter hours for employees in the service department. Those savings have prevented any layoffs.
Vitucci has made his staff aware of the situation, and they realize there is no room for error.
“There isn’t a customer’s work order we can mess up on,” he says. “There isn’t a greasy footprint that can be left in a boat, there isn’t a phone call that can’t be returned, there isn’t an e-mail that doesn’t need to be responded to.”