2019 Best in Class: Best Community Outreach

Hampton Watercraft & Marine
Hampton Bays, N.Y.

Countless studies have shown that businesses – both small and large – that give back to their local communities are more successful than those that don’t.

You don’t have to tell that to Anthony Villareale, president and founder of Hampton Watercraft & Marine.

“We pride ourselves on being a community-oriented business,” he said. “We participate in many events and functions and try to support the community whenever possible. That includes hosting a myriad of free customer events at our marinas, as well as sponsoring, supporting and participating in broader community events.”

Hampton Watercraft & Marine, founded in 1990, posted a 29% revenue increase from 2017 to 2018, through their two locations. One on the historic Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays and a second location on Seatock Cove in Eastport.

Although the list of special events and community outreach programs is too long to include everything, here is a partial rundown.

Take a Vet Fishing

For this event they reach out to customers and the community to see who would be willing to volunteer their time, boat and fishing equipment to get veterans on the water for a day of fishing. Their first year they had 13 boats hosting 31 veterans, and then last year they were able to host 65 veterans, from all branches of the military, and of all ages, including some still on active duty. The Hampton Bays Lions Club helped out with registration and the BBQ cookout. Also, the Hampton Bays Middle School Student Council directed traffic, as well as had an opportunity to mingle with veterans and hear their stories. Boston Whaler provided a photographer and a story about the event ran in Whaler magazine.

Boating Safety

In the spring Hampton Watercraft & Marine holds a free New York State Boating Safety Course. This course is open to the public for anyone over the age of 10.

Vessel Safety Checks

To kick off the summer season they hold a free vessel safety check event with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary during National Safe Boating Week. This is open to both customers as well as the general public. “We feel this service is one of the best things that we can do for the boating public,” said Villareale. “It is important for everyone to know where their safety equipment is and to make sure it is up to date.”

Ladies at the Helm

As the name implies, this is a women-only boating class. The session gives them the chance to come to the marina, get out on the water, and learn boat handling basics in a stress-free environment. An instructor from the local sheriff’s department teaches the participants about boating safety, how to tie knots and what to do in an emergency situation. A Garmin rep. also attends to show the students how to use electronics such as GPS.

Southampton Town Snapper Derby

Each year the store sponsors a local fishing contest by providing the bait and prizes for each age group. This is an opportunity to get the younger generations excited and enthusiastic about fishing.

Holiday Coat Drive

They collect money from employees at both locations that is then used to purchase winter coats, hats, gloves and boots. The items are given to a local church for distribution to those in need in the community.

Annual Golf Outing

Each year they participate in the Art Jones Memorial Golf tournament; an event in honor of a dear friend of Hampton Watercraft & Marine who was lost on 9/11. During this event they sponsor a hole-in-one content with a boat as the prize. They also bring an inflatable watersports tube to set up behind the boat, and they encourage golfers to “get out of their cart and take a picture for Art.” If they tag the dealership in the photo on social media they are entered into a raffle to win a $100 pro shop gift card.

“Hampton Watercraft & Marine is not only committed to customer satisfaction, we are committed to participating in our community and providing a positive impact for our neighbors,” said Villareale. “Our employees can be found coaching local sports teams, driving a fire truck or ambulance, volunteering at the local hospital or serving at local service organizations. You will find most of our employees giving back to the community in one way or another when they are not at work.”   

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