MINNEAPOLIS – As current boaters and prospects gain confidence in exploring purchase decisions, it is increasingly vital that they are directed to trustworthy and professional dealers for boat sales and service. Thanks to Boating Industry magazine’s sixth-annual Top 100 Dealers program, consumers now have access to those best of the best dealers at their fingertips.
This marine dealer ranking has resulted in an incredibly powerful group that collectively generates more than $879 million in annual retail sales – and $1.56 billion, if you include MarineMax Inc. and Galati Yacht Sales, which are members of the Top 100 Dealers Hall of Fame. This makes up 2.9 and 5.1 percent of the overall U.S. boating market, respectively. That market has fallen more than 30 percent annually for the past few years, yet the revenue that the Top 100 Dealers have generated is off an average of just 14.5 percent.
While the numbers this elite group posts are impressive, indeed, the Top 100 is not merely a ranking of the largest, volume-driven dealers. Rather, it recognizes those marine dealers that are unsurpassed in overall business operations, customer service, marketing and professionalism. Collectively, the 2010 Boating Industry Top 100 employ nearly 3,900 people and operate 244 retail locations across North America.
“Whether today’s boaters are finally ready to upgrade their vessel or are maximizing their enjoyment of their current model, Boating Industry’s list of Top 100 Dealers is a much-needed guide to those dealerships that provide their boating community with an industry-leading sales and service experience,” said Matt Gruhn, Editorial Director and Publisher of Boating Industry.
Topping the list at No. 1 for the first time is Prince William Marine Sales, Inc., based in Woodbridge, Va., followed by Austin, Texas-based Sail & Ski Centers, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Fontana, Wis., Buckeye Marine, based in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, and Russo Marine of Medford, Mass. Nearly 380 people joined Boating Industry to honor the Top 100 Dealers at a black-tie celebration Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.
Boating Industry’s editorial team reviewed 224 applications, culled from more than 3,000 nominations. The applications asked both quantitative and qualitative questions regarding all aspects of marine dealer operations.
“As consumers seek out the many benefits of the boating lifestyle, marine dealers need to leverage all of the tools at their disposal to attract them into their businesses,” explained Liz Walz, Editor-In-Chief of Boating Industry magazine. “Six years after its inception, inclusion on Boating Industry’s Top 100 Dealers list delivers real results to leading dealers, allowing them to set themselves apart from their peers.”
Boating Industry bestowed five additional Best In Class awards to dealers ranked at the top of their categories. South Shore Marine (ranked 32), based in Huron, Ohio, was noted as the Most Improved Top 100 Dealer. Receiving a Best In Class Award for Best Succession Plan was Burnaby, B.C.-based dealership M&P Mercury Sales Ltd. (ranked 8). Singleton Marine Group (ranked 12), Dadeville, Ala., took home a Best In Class Award for Best Changes In Response To The Downturn. The Best In Class Award for Best Marketing Strategy went to Parks Marina (ranked 7), Okoboji, Iowa. And George’s Marine & Sports (ranked 19), Ottawa, Ont., received a Best In Class Award for Best Employee Development Strategy.
To help bring the Boating Industry Top 100 to life, Affinity Media, the magazine’s parent company, created the Leadership Alliance, an elite group of the marine industry’s leading suppliers. These companies were invited to participate because they possess, as one of their corporate values, a true belief in and commitment to raising the bar of professionalism across all marine industry sectors, and particularly for dealers.
The 2010 Leadership Alliance members include: BRP/Evinrude; GE Capital Solutions, Commercial Distribution Finance; BoatTrader; Volvo Penta; Manheim Specialty Auctions; Global Marine Insurance Agency and the Marine Retailers Association of America.
Meet the 2010 Leadership Alliance:
Boating Industry magazine, an 82-year-old business-to-business publication owned by Affinity Boating Media, a subsidiary of Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc., is the most authoritative and widely respected magazine serving the marine industry. Visit www.boatingindustry.com to learn more about the Top 100 and view past years’ winners.
For 100 years, the Evinrude name has been synonymous with boating innovation. Buying an Evinrude means buying a trusted brand name that delivers everything consumers want in an outboard engine. Today’s Evinrude E-TEC engines, manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products, Sturtevant, Wis., deliver an unmatched boating experience, with more power, better fuel efficiency and less maintenance than any other engine. All this means more of what boaters want most: spending more time on the water to create lasting memories. Visit www.evinrude.com
GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance, Hoffman Estates, Ill., a recognized leader in the marine industry for more than 30 years, supports its customers with knowledgeable staff, focused on providing outstanding service and information. Its Commercial Distribution Finance unit takes the time to ensure that it understands its marine manufacturer and dealer customers’ needs and deliver financial products and programs to help them execute their business plans. Its array of financing programs and services include inventory financing, seasonal credit lines, pre-owned & pre-sold financing programs, and business planning tools. For more information about CDF, call 888/873-8232 or visit www.ge.com/cdf
Boat Trader is the leader in the marine classified advertising segment for boat buyers, sellers and dealers, attracting 23.2 million visitors to its Web site in 2009 alone. Headquartered in Norfolk, Va. and owned by Dominion Enterprises, Boat Trader is dedicated to providing its dealers and end-users with results. That commitment is reinforced in the leads and sales that Boat Trader generates to dealers, as well as the aggressive development of new products that help consumers more easily find and purchase inventory. For more information, call 888/410-6270 or visit www.boattrader.com
Volvo Penta, Chesapeake, Va., has become the fastest growing marine engine company in the world by constantly developing innovative new products and services. The company, founded in 1907, introduced its first outboard engine in 1922, the first in-line 6-cylinder diesel in 1946, the first sterndrive in 1959, the first duo-prop in 1982 and Electronic Diesel Control in 1995. Then, in 2005, Volvo Penta changed the face of marine propulsion forever with the Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS), followed by the Volvo Penta IPS Joystick. Today, more than 10,000 units have been produced and shipped to more than 100 independent boat builders worldwide. Visit www.volvopenta.com
Manheim Specialty Auctions, a division of 60-plus-year-old auction provider Manheim, offers auctions with sales dedicated to boats, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and powersports vehicles at 16 locations in North America. Benefits for dealers who participate in the auction process include a critical mass of buyers and sellers, credible pricing, market liquidity, affordable participation and technology applications. Customers can take advantage of on-site and online bidding using a variety of technologies such as Manheim Simulcast, which allows dealers to participate in live auctions online. For more information, call 877/704-4636 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1989, the independently owned and operated Global Marine Insurance Agency (GMIA), Traverse City, Mich., is one of the most highly regarded marine insurance providers in the country. Global specializes exclusively in insuring a growing mix of marine products, from personal watercraft to mega-yachts to various commercial marine vessels. More than 60 percent of GMIA’s insurance business stems from business partnerships with marine dealers and lenders, ranging from small dealerships to multistate, multimillion-dollar dealerships. For more information, call 800/748-0224 or visit www.globalmarineinsurance.com
The Marine Retailers Association of America is the leading not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the recreational marine industry and the welfare of the marine retailer. The association raises the standards of retailing within the industry, provides its members a common source of information concerning all aspects of marine retailing and serves as the voice within the industry and in Washington regarding issues concerning marine dealers nationwide. Visit: www.mraa.com
For the full list of Boating Industry’s 2009 Top 100 Dealers, visit www.boatingindustry.com.
The 2010 Top 100 Dealers:
1. Prince William Marine Sales, Inc, Woodbridge, Va.
2. Sail & Ski Centers, Inc., Austin, Texas
3. Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Inc., Fontana, Wis.
4. Buckeye Marine, Bobcaygeon, Ont., Canada
5. Russo Marine, Medford, Mass.
6. Port Harbor Marine, South Portland, Maine
7. Parks Marina, Okoboji, Iowa
8. M&P Mercury Sales Ltd., Burnaby, B.C., Canada
9. Seattle Boat Co., Seattle, Wash.
10. Hall Marine Group, Lake Wylie, S.C.
11. Strong’s Marine, LLC, Mattituck, N.Y.
12. Singleton Marine Group, Dadeville, Ala.
13. Pride Marine Group, Bracebridge, Ont., Canada
14. Woodard Marine Inc., Hydeville, Vt.
15. Russell Marine, Alexander City, Ala.
16. Quality Boats of Clearwater, Inc., Clearwater, Fla.
17. Lake Union Sea Ray, Seattle, Wash.
18. Hampton Watercraft & Marine, Hampton Bays, N.Y.
19. George’s Marine & Sports, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
20. Lynnhaven Marine, Virginia Beach, Va.
21. Action Water Sports, Hudsonville, Mich.
22. Kelly’s Port, Osage Beach, Mo.
23. Vallely Sport & Marine, Bismarck, N.D.
24. Spring Brook Marina, Inc., Seneca, Ill.
25. BMC Boats, Longwood, Fla.
26. Hagadone Marine Group, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
27. The Sportsman, San Benito, Texas
28. Parker Boat Company, Inc., Orlando, Fla.
29. Hayes Marine, Appling, Ga.
30. Rayburn’s Marine World Ltd., Kelowna, B.C., Canada
31. Boats, Inc., Niantic, Conn.
32. South Shore Marine, Huron, Ohio
33. Reed’s Marine, Inc., Delavan, Wis.
34. Austin Boats and Motors, Inc., Lakeway, Texas
35. Colorado Boat Center, Loveland, Colo.
36. Sea Ray of Cincinnati & Louisville, Cincinnati, Ohio
37. Tobler Marina, Hayden, Idaho
38. Legendary Marine, Destin, Fla.
39. Redline Watersports, Madison, Wis.
40. South Austin Marine, Austin, Texas
41. Paris Marine Ltd., Peterborough, Ont., Canada
42. Boaters Exchange, Rockledge, Fla.
43. Bosun’s Marine, Inc., Mashpee, Mass.
44. Dry Dock Marine Center, Inc., Angola, Ind
45. Gage Marine, Williams Bay, Wis.
46. Wayzata Marine, Inc., Orono, Minn.
47. Liquid Sports Marine, Orlando, Fla.
48. Watersports Dealer Services, Holladay, Utah
49. Rambo Marine, Hazel Green, Ala.
50. The Boat Shop, Tafton, Pa.
51. Atwood Lake Boats, Inc., Mineral City, Ohio
52. Castaway Marina LLC, Queensbury, N.Y.
53. B&E Marine, Michigan City, Ind.
54. Saratoga Boatworks, Inc., Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
55. Vincent Payne Marine Ltd., Pointe au Baril, Ont., Canada
56. Lodder’s Marine Sales, Fairfield, Ohio
57. Boat Town, Inc., Austin, Texas
58. Causeway Marine, Manahawkin, N.J.
59. Midwest MasterCraft, Crystal, Minn.
60. Crowe Marine, Inc., Eatonton, Ga.
61. Town & Country Marine, Lakefield , Ont., Canada
62. Glencove Marine, Lake Ozark, Mo.
63. Marine Center of Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
64. Sundance Marine, Inc., F. Lauderdale , Fla.
65. Traverse Bay Marine, Inc., Traverse City, Mich.
66. Texas Marine, Beaumont, Texas
67. Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina, Mount Dora, Fla.
68. Gone Fishin’ Marine, Inc., Dixon, Calif.
69. Hurst Marina Ltd., Manotick, Ont., Canada
70. Marine Specialties, Sparks, Nev.
71. Shipyard Marine, Suamico, Wis.
72. Marine Center of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
73. Irwin Marine, Laconia, N.H.
74. Hoffmaster’s Marina, Inc., Woodbridge, Va.
75. Short’s Marine Inc., Millsboro, Del.
76. Omaha Marine Center, Omaha, Neb.
77. MasterCraft Boats of Arizona, Inc., Phoenix, Az.
78. Power Boats, Inc., Hot Springs, Ark.
79. Jet Ski of Miami & Fisherman’s Boat Group, Miami, Fla.
80. Oak Hill Marina, Inc., Arnolds Park, Iowa
81. Laurel Marina, Bristol, Tenn.
82. Davey’s Marine Center, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
83. Galey’s Marine, Bakersfield, Calif.
84. Marina Fortin, St-Paul Ile Aux Noix, PQ, Canada
85. Candlewood East Marina, Brookfield, Conn.
86. Performance Marine, Regina, Sask., Canada
87. Lake Viking Marine, Gallatin, Mo.
88. Clear Lake Boats, Clear Lake, Iowa
89. Deep Creek Marina, McHenry, Md.
90. Dockside Marine Centre Ltd., Kelowna, B.C., Canada
91. Hardin Marine Arrowhead, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
92. Baert Marine Inc., Middleton, Mass.
93. Don’s Marine, LLC, Lodi, Wis.
94. Regina Marine Ltd., Regina , Sask., Canada
95. Skyline Marina, Orillia, Ont., Canada
96. Grand Pointe Marine of Lansing, Dimondale, Mich.
97. Ski & Sports, Inc., Rogers , Ark.
98. Nobles’ Marine, Leesburg, Fla.
99. Farm Island Repair & Marine, Aitkin, Minn.
100. Airport Marine Inc., Alabaster, AL