VENICE, Fla. – Capping off its 25th anniversary milestone this year, Freedom Boat Club hosted its annual National Franchise Conference at the Florida Boca Raton Club & Resort in early December and gathered club owners from across the country, along with associates and key vendors. The highlight of the four-day conference featured the highly anticipated national awards program which recognizes top performance in seven distinct categories.
Winning the highly coveted “Franchise of the Year” was the Weir family of Lake Norman, North Carolina, whose entire clan is actively engaged in all aspects of business operations. According to
Freedom Boat Club President and CEO John Giglio, this most coveted award was given to Perry and Jeff Weir and family for upholding the high standards of Freedom Boat Club, coupled with continued membership growth and high customer satisfaction ratings. A top franchise sales associate from Lake Norman, Susan Joosten, also received the “Century Club” award for personally selling more than 100 club memberships in two seasons.
The “Rookie of the Year” award, given to a new franchise with the best overall sales and performance statistics in a one-year period was presented to Bobby Parker for the Daytona Beach, FL franchise he launched in 2014. Parker, the son of Roy Parker who owned the highly respected, family-owned Parker Boats for many years in Orlando, left the traditional dealership model for the boat club alternative. In his first year, Parker and his team sold more than 100 memberships.
The “Highest Percentage of Revenue Increase” award was won by Glenn Bergoffen who owns the Tampa Bay franchise, with club locations in Tampa Bay, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, Tavares and Clearwater, FL. This award reflects a club’s best business practices with increased sales and profitability as benchmarks.
The “Guardian of Reciprocity” Award was won by Chris and Lisa Kelly of Sebastian/Vero Beach, FL. This award is presented to the club owner who most warmly welcomes and embraces “reciprocal” club members and delivers an exceptional member experience. Reciprocal membership is one of Freedom Boat Club’s major distinctions, which allows members to boat in club locations throughout the country, above and beyond their home club location.
The “Territory Expansion Award” was presented to Matt Carrick and Matt O’Connor in the Boston/Cape Cod market for their acquisition and membership development success in their markets.
The twosome currently operate eight Freedom Boat Club facilities in the Northeast with additional new locations opening in 2015.
A new award category was introduced this year entitled the “Freedom Boat Club Brand Champion,” presented to a franchise owner who best represents the Freedom Boat Club brand. The inaugural award was presented to Lisa “The BoatanistaTM” Almeida who co-owns the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Freedom Boat Club franchise. Not only did Almeida continually promote the brand and build awareness in her market through a variety of high profile PR and promotional initiatives, but she also is actively engaged in the marine industry through trade show participation, as well as serving on the RBLC’s national Diversity Task Force.
Giglio, himself an owner of 15 clubs in Southwest Florida whose new membership sales broke historical records this year, is very pleased with the overall growth and successes of the franchise network.
“It’s been a great year for Freedom Boat Club, with many of our franchises enjoying their best year ever,” he said. “We are so proud of the achievements of our entire franchise network, and were very pleased to provide special recognition for those whose performances this year were especially outstanding. With the group our franchise owners now in place, 2015 is shaping up to be our best ever.”
Freedom Boat Club is the largest and oldest boat club in the nation and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It currently operates 84 clubs coast to coast, with 10,000 active club members in 19 states, and a fleet of 800 boats. For more information, visit www.freedomboatclub.com