Norfolk Marine celebrates 75 years in business

Norfolk Marine logo

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the formation of Norfolk Marine Company, a local family-owned boat dealership that still today remains in the same family that founded it. Norfolk Marine has become a landmark for residents of Southeastern Virginia in search of premium recreational boat brands, a full service center, and the area’s largest OEM marine parts center.

Beginning in 1946, Garland Kight, Sr. opened the first location of Norfolk Marine Company in downtown Norfolk. At that time the company was mostly focused on wholesale distribution and did very little business with retail customers.

With continued success came expansion, quickly outgrowing their existing facilities and moving to a larger location in 1950. In the years following, Norfolk Marine’s growth continued at a rapid rate, opening two satellite locations, one in Hampton (Hampton Marine) and the other in the District of Columbia (Capital Marine). In 1965 Norfolk Marine moved to its current location.

1968 marked the year Norfolk Marine became one of the country’s first Grady White dealerships, which they proudly maintain today.

Shortly thereafter in 1972, the company welcomed the arrival of Garland Kight, Jr. to Norfolk Marine, following closely in his father’s footsteps. In that same year Norfolk Marine become a full-scale retail operation.

By the end of 1973 the company split into Norfolk Marine Company and Norfolk Marine Distributing, which would later be sold to form what we know today as Land & Sea Distributing.

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In 1975 the company purchased a neighboring building in order to form its first dedicated retail parts store which has grown today to house one of
the largest and most diverse marine parts inventories on the East Coast.

In 2005 Kight, Jr. was joined by his son-in-law, Jason Murphy, to further grow sales and develop a modernized digital footprint including website development and integration of their first true CRM system. Murphy purchased the business in 2010 after several years in a variety of roles including President. Today Murphy represents the 3rd generation of ownership under the same family, and the company continues to build upon the legacy of growth and innovation.

In 2014 the company opened a brand new 20,000 sq. foot boat warehouse and showroom on its now 4.5-acre campus. In 2016, Norfolk Marine expanded yet again with the purchase of another neighboring property to create a larger stand-alone service department, and in more recent years added Bennington Pontoon Boats and Regal Boats.

Throughout their 75 years in business, the company and its employees have also maintained their focus of giving back, by annually taking part in dozens of local philanthropic events and tournaments which support a variety of causes in our community.

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