Best In Class

Highest Ranking Dealer with 1 or 2 Stores
Prince William Marine Sales earns this distinction for a second time as it continues to set the standard for one- or two-location dealerships with its innovation and sound strategies. While most businesses have been looking for ways to downsize during the downturn, Prince William did not let any of its employees go and bumped up its marketing budget more than 10 percent in an effort to grow its business. When a nearby boat show was cancelled less than a month before it was supposed to open, the Woodbridge, Va.-based dealership launched its own show, which was a great success. Prince William continues to be a Sea Ray Ambassador dealer and one of the leaders in the Performance Group in which it participates. Whatever may happen in the economy at large, Prince William’s continued success seems certain.

Highest Ranking Dealer with 3 or 4 Stores
Additions to its service work, the near tripling of its brokerage business and a refocused sales approach are just a few of the methods Seattle Boat Co. is using to combat an economy that has forced many of its local competitors to close their doors. With those closures have come more customers for the company’s service department, which is one of the strongest in the Top 100. The dealership’s Super Tech program is key to that department’s success, as Junior Technicians are paired with those techs at Seattle Boat Co. that achieve a 120-percent efficiency for three consecutive months. The Junior Technicians work to propel the Super Tech’s efficiency to 150 percent and beyond. It’s this type of innovative approach that allows Seattle Boat Co. to remain one of the industry’s best, even as the economy claims the competition.

Highest Ranking Dealer with 7 or More Stores
Galati Yacht Sales’ Bank Owned Program is a prime example of why the Anna Maria, Fla.-based dealership is one of the absolute best in the boating industry. Recognizing the glut of distressed inventory that many of its lender partners were trying to sell to recapture their return on investment, Galati relocated the vessels to its locations, refitted and reconditioned those that needed work, and have been able to market and sell the product through its enhanced brokerage channel. This has helped the lenders, but has also increased service revenues for Galati, among other benefits. When confronted with challenges, these are the types of innovative win/win solutions great companies find. This program is another on a long list of impressive accomplishments for Galati Yacht Sales.

Most-Improved Dealer
Liquid Sports Marine makes the largest leap in this year’s rankings, jumping 24 spots due to the strong steps the dealership took to withstand market conditions. One of the most impressive was the company’s proactive approach to its consignment business. Liquid Sports became a member of Manheim Specialty Auctions, buying and selling boats through that service, and also undertook a call campaign to contact all of the dealership’s customers since 1997 to educate them on the demand for used boats and to ask if they are interested in consigning their vessels. Liquid Sports says the campaign has been a huge hit as it allowed to company to serve many people who either wanted or needed to sell their boats, but did not know how. The company says the consignment process is “The perfect business opportunity in this economy.”

Highest Ranking Dealer with revenue under $4 million
Woodard Marine wins this Best in Class award for the third-consecutive year and, for the third-consecutive year, this one-location Vermont dealership rises in our rankings, cracking the Top 10 for the first time. Take a look at the company’s Top 100 application and it’s easy to understand the reason for Woodard’s steady climb. Here is a partial list of the dealership’s 2008 improvements: added a boat line, expanded the insurance products it sells and implemented a menu-selling approach, revamped its Web site, partnered with manufacturers to offset the costs of continuing its extensive schedule of events, eliminated $30,000 in credit card processing fees and $30,000 more in health insurance costs, and rented some of its space to a retail vendor. Woodard Marine works to get better in good times and bad, and continues to prove that smaller dealers can be every bit as innovative and impressive as their larger competitors.

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