US Marine selects its first Pro Dealer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Thunder Marine, Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla., is the first U.S. dealership to be awarded full PRO DEALER status by US Marine, manufacturer of Bayliner, Maxum and Trophy boats, the boat builder reported in a statement yesterday.

“It’s an honor,” said Mark LaPrade, Thunder Marine owner. “We volunteered as a pilot dealer for the program in January because we wanted to further professionalize our dealership systems and improve the way we do business. The Pro Dealer program led us through this process.”

LaPrade sad the dealership’s goal is to provide “a shopping, purchasing and ownership experience that is unmatched in the industry.”

The Pro Dealer program is US Marine’s exclusive dealer certification program aimed at increasing customer satisfaction and owner loyalty, according to the builder. Dealers like Mark LaPrade’s Thunder Marine voluntarily join the Pro Dealer program and work as a dealership team along with US Marine to meet or exceed 171 exacting Operational Guidelines covering all parts of the retail operation.

The program is administered on a turnkey basis by Sandy Corp., a Detroit-based consulting, training and communications organization, the boat builder reported.

Thunder Marine was established in 1984 and with its most recent property acquisition in Englewood, Fla., it has expanded to three full-line dealerships with more than 60 employees.

“The Pro Dealer program is only one of a number of supports and services we offer our dealers,” said Dave Taylor, senior vice president sales and marketing, US Marine. “It’s unique in the industry. We employ a comprehensive, objective third-party approach that involves on-site consultants, inspections and a rigid assessment system. Only dealerships scoring 90 percent or higher on our assessments qualify as Pro Dealers.

“We’re proud of Thunder Marine,” Taylor added. “It’s quite an honor to not only be one of only a handful of charter members, but also the first to achieve full Pro Dealer status.”

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., US Marine manufactures fiberglass boats under the Bayliner, Trophy and Maxum brands, ranging from 16-42 feet. US Marine is a component of the Brunswick Boat Group, a unit of Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC).

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