Amazing Five Generations in the Boat Business

PDB family photo-crFisher’s Marina on Buckeye Lake, Ohio is a family business started in 1912 by the first of five generations of the Fisher family. And interviewing Ed and Josh Fisher, generations 4 and 5, for an article in Soundings Trade Only was really pleasant. Having been in the marine industry for over 50 years and dealing with hundreds of dealers over those years, it didn’t take long for me to recognize that Ed and Josh know the boating business well. They both have grown up in the marina and are very knowledgeable and focused on how to sell boats and motors, accessories and parts, provide excellent service, and keep their customers happy. Continue reading Amazing Five Generations in the Boat Business

A tribute to Phil Keeter

Back in 2011, when Phil Keeter retired as Executive Director of the MRAA, I felt it was a big loss to the industry. Phil had served in that position for 22 years—from 1989 until 2011.  As MRAA’s Executive Director, Phil brought so much to the industry, especially for dealers. Prior to 1989, Phil owned a successful boat and motor dealership called Romer Marine. Having been a successful dealer himself, he fully understood the pressures and problems constantly facing marine retailers. Over the years he did much to significantly grow the association into the major factor that it is in the industry today, and its standing in the industry has improved the overall status of dealers and how they are now treated by manufacturers.

I recently wrote an article on Phil Keeter and his career in the marine industry that was published in Soundings Trade Only. It was fun to do a couple of interviews with Phil in preparation for the article. Our friendship goes back to the 1980’s when I was head of outboard sales for OMC and Phil Keeter, Romer Marine, was on our dealer council. He kept us on our toes at dealer council meetings. Continue reading A tribute to Phil Keeter

Cobalt – First Boats, then Wine

My article about Pack and Paxson St. Clair and Cobalt Boats in the May issue of Soundings Trade Only was a real pleasure to write.  I have known Pack for many years and seen him at numerous boat shows and NMMA conventions. We had a fun and rather lengthy interview on the phone before writing the article. There is no doubt that Pack is a real gentleman. And he is another amazing and innovative entrepreneur in the boating industry. Starting his boat building business with a small business loan, Pack built it in to one of the top brands in the industry. And now his son Paxson is taking the brand forward with the introduction of an innovative, top of the line pontoon boat.

Pack and his wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine
Pack and his wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine

But Pack’s innovation and entrepreneurship didn’t stop with Cobalt Boats. He then successfully got in the California wine business with…that’s right…his Cobalt wine. And as you can see from this pic, Pack and wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine.  He sent me a couple of bottles of Cobalt wine that my wife and I enjoyed. On the bottle it reads, “A shared passion for excellence and quality brought together an esteemed boat-builder, Pack St. Clair, and a respected vintner, Steve Sherwin. One afternoon in the cellar over a glass of red wine, they decided to create something special for you to enjoy.” And you will enjoy it. Continue reading Cobalt – First Boats, then Wine