October 31, 2014

Marine Industries

Trendsetters - Aug. 2006

Mike Vogel | 8/1/2006

Below the Surface

Joe Lewis
Mount Dora Boating Center
Owner, Mount Dora

A disquieting trend unsettled people in the boat business a few years ago. At a time when Boomer demographics and circumstance should have favored strong industry growth, sales were at best flat. "Everything was playing to our favor, and we weren't going anywhere," says Mount Dora boat dealer and marina owner Joe Lewis.

Lewis, originally a businessman from Harrisburg, Pa., came to Florida in 1989 after reading a marina for-sale advertisement in the Wall Street Journal. His Mount Dora Boating Center now ranks 91st in Boating Industry's national top 100 dealers. The dealership includes a full-service marina, wet and dry storage and repair operation. Lewis believes in his product. He says he knows no better way for a family to bond because children of all ages love it. "There's absolutely nothing like it," he says.

To address the disquieting industry trend, manufacturers and retailers launched what became the Grow Boating initiative. Lewis, president of the Marine Industries Association of Florida, is one of only four dealers to sit on the group's board. As the Grow Boating group researched why people gave up boating, they found problems in the owners' sales, service and product experiences. Among other things, Grow Boating aims to address the problems by moving the industry toward certification and higher standards for manufacturing and sales. Says Lewis, 50, whose dealership was one of the first certified. "If we're going to turn this industry around, put it on a growth trend, we have to address the underlying issues."

Tags: Trendsetters, Around Florida

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Roberto Muñoz - Banking in Florida
Roberto Muñoz - Banking in Florida

Roberto Muñoz, president of the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA), talks about FIBA, services the organization provides to the state's banks and issues facing banks today.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Walmart and Amazon are kicking off the holiday shopping season Nov. 1. Your thoughts?

  • It's too soon!
  • This news doesn't surprise me
  • Good for them - l like shopping early

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe