Grab the public’s attention

People who have never set foot inside the Galey’s Marine (Ranked 64 in 2006) store in Bakersfield, Calif., would have no trouble telling a stranger where the store is.

Its prime location next to the huge auto mall on Highway 99, the main highway through Bakersfield that runs from Canada to Mexico, might be enough of a tip. But, if not, the 21-foot Bayliner that appears to be half outside, half inside the store should jog the memory of most people.

“We get a lot of people who walk through the door and then turn around to see the other half of the boat,” which isn’t there, says Don Galey, president of the business his father started in 1938. “But it really identifies our store and blends in quite well.”

Galey says he got the idea while on a trip to Seattle several years ago. As he was driving around town, he came across an auto parts and service store that had half of a Corvette sticking out of a wall. He also has a friend who rejuvenates race cars for wealthy clients who then mount the car on a wall in their home, so Galey was familiar with the concept.

When Galey’s Marine opened its new store six years ago, Galey knew exactly how he wanted to decorate the façade of the 6-acre site. Since the store has been a Bayliner dealer for more than three decades, Galey asked the manufacturer for two boats: a 17-foot cuddy cabin that Galey’s outfitted as a playroom and a 21-foot model for the outside.

The larger boat was cut in half, reinforced at key points and mounted to the outside in a way so water would not gather in the boat. The smaller version escaped the saw, although the seats and upholstery were removed and a pilot seat and ship wheel were added. Kids love it.

“When the parents are ready to go,” Galey said, “the kids often aren’t, and there have been some real wars.”

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