Think local

Being an actively contributing member of the community is one of the top priorities for many Top 100 Dealers. Through education and support for local organizations, dealerships across the nation are ensuring stronger towns and cities and a smarter, safer boating public.

Marine Specialties (Ranked 86 in 2006) hosts a waterski/wakeboard swap meet where customers can bring in their existing equipment and sell or donate it to a local organization that supports youth with terminal illnesses.

Thunder Marine, Inc.’s (Ranked 40 in 2006) Yachta…Yachta…Yachta…and Dinner benefits charities around the St. Petersburg, Fla., area and includes an auction for an intimate yacht cruise and dinner.

Instead of contributing to local charities, a few employees at Arrowhead Yacht Club & Marina (Ranked 8 in 2006) decided to start their own charities. The dealership’s Grand Lake Polar Bear Plunge and Boats Bikes Bikinis and BBQ events both benefit the South Grand Lakers Helping Children.

Community education can also be a subtle marketing initiative. There are Fear Buster boating classes (Strong’s Marine, LLC, Ranked 20 in 2006), watersports clinics (Midwest MasterCraft, Ranked 35 in 2006) and even cooking classes (Newport Boats, Ranked 26 in 2006).

Buckeye Marine (Ranked 28 in 2006) combines charity with education since its women-only boat handling class instructors donate their time so the majority of the class’ tuition can go to the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation.

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