Boat dealer adopts new strategy post-hurricane

MADISONVILLE, La. - Four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated its market area, Madisonville-based marine dealer Nunmaker Yachts is seeking to invigorate its business recovery by upgrading its online strategy, Channel Blade Technologies reported in a recent statement.

After more than 40 years of regional business, Nunmaker knows that a major element of the area's reconstruction is commerce, and the eventual return to “business as usual.”

“We were able to get back to normal rather quickly,” said Michael Nunmaker IV, adding that no matter the impact, the dealership never contemplated relocating. “Even if everything had been wiped out, we'd still be here selling boats.”

Having suffered limited damage from this summer's storms, Nunmaker is acutely aware that other businesses and individuals didn't fare as well, Channel Blade reported. Many Madisonville area residents have left their destroyed homes behind and departed the region, and those who remain believe the population drop likely will be permanent.

Channel Blade steps in

For Nunmaker Yachts, a population decline in its trade area is a major challenge to the goal of a return to business as usual. Nunmaker's strategy for targeting its customer base centers around a re-launch of the company's Web site, complete with a new design and additional capacity for consumer information on the dealership's products. Aware of Nunmaker's plight to rededicate its Web sales plans, Channel Blade Technologies has stepped in and offered its Web design and startup services at no charge.

The Virginia-based provider of eCommerce platforms and lead management software had been working with the dealership prior to the storm. In the aftermath of the hurricane, Channel Blade knew that a solid Web platform would be a boost to Nunmaker's post-Katrina sales efforts.

“We always had a Web site, but it was developed by a family friend,” Nunmaker said. “So this is a big step for us - it will help us reach people who aren't in the area anymore.”

“In the scheme of things, what we did for Nunmaker is minor,” said Charles R. “Chuck” Lewis, Channel Blade's executive vice president and managing partner. “But hopefully, it's just another sign to the public that affected companies are open for - and able to accommodate - business.”

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