Stand out from the pack

Not every boat dealership can be on the water.

But George’s Marine & Sports (Ranked 39 in 2005) is … sort of.

When President Jeff Wilcox designed his second dealership location, built in 2004, he selected a spot behind a pond big enough to hold 30-foot boats as an “eye-catcher” for folks zipping by on the highway.

This kind of innovative thinking is evident throughout the dealership, especially in how it presents itself to the public. Looks don’t mean everything, but Wilcox knows they’re important. The new facility, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, has the modern, upscale feel of many auto dealerships. Those walking in the front door are greeted by a receptionist offering refreshments.

George’s marketing efforts also stand out. It advertises in what some might call unlikely spots — grocery stores, bank lobbies, airport baggage claims and golf tournaments. About half of George’s Marine & Sports’ annual marketing budget goes toward radio advertising, for which it has its own on-air radio personality. Customers hear this person during its 60-second radio spots and also when they’re put on hold.

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