Letters from the Editor

Good service is a high-cost, high-return commitment

Jack Brewer owns more than two-dozen marinas, but he’s the first to tell you the business he’s really in is the service business. That’s an important distinction, not just a matter of semantics. I recently attended the opening of Brewer Yacht Yards’ annual two-day mechanics seminar that brought in nearly 80 “techs” who work at…more

Sage advice: hold on just a little longer

Fourteen months into this recession, the question we’re all looking for an answer to is this: Just when is this mess going to end? When it comes to the economy, the crystal ball business is so “iffy” it makes weather forecasters look like Nostradamus. Nonetheless, for an answer, I turned to veteran economist Tony Villamil,…more

Make sure the sales trail doesn’t go cold

Staying close to your customers and potential customers in this tough market is critical. You can’t afford to let even one get away. Treat each with the care they should always be treated with but maybe weren’t back when business was better and there were plenty of fish in the sea. There still are a…more

Training your sights on the far horizon

For veteran and newcomer alike, these may prove the most challenging times we have faced as an industry, particularly if the last quarter of 2008 is any indication of things to come. What will happen to our businesses in 2009? We posed that question to 18 industry leaders whose backgrounds and experience cover a broad…more

Holding station while waiting for the tide to turn

During tough economic times, it’s easy to lose your perspective. A steady diet of bad news can lead to the refrain: “The sky is falling … the sky is falling.” Given the volatile October that has finally been put in the rearview mirror (and good riddance, too), that’s understandable. So just how bad are things?…more


Underpromise, overdeliver, keep your customers

Volatility has been the flavor of the day, the week, the month in both the global economy and on the block where you and I go about the business of boating. Despite the economic uncertainty, one proven prescription for success hasn’t changed, even if there are fewer buyers in showrooms and on the docks. The…more


A change in direction, but the same commitment

We’re in the midst of tough times once more, nothing new for veterans of this industry. The economists refer to our ups and downs as cyclical, a nice clinical term but one that really doesn’t begin to describe the roller coaster most of us have been riding for the last year. But good times or…more

You stood up, spoke out and won a great victory

Former Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill once said all politics is local. This phrase aptly applies to your successful grassroots efforts that ultimately led to President George W. Bush signing the Clean Boating Act of 2008. The signing took place July 29 aboard Air Force One on a flight from Euclid, Ohio,…more

Fight to stop ethanol’s damage will not be easy

Thom Dammrich calls it a “scam,” and he may be right. We’ll be kinder and call corn-based ethanol a well-intentioned mistake. Either way, there’s a growing body of evidence that the once-heralded solution to exhaust gas emissions not only is damaging a fragile economy, but is doing more harm than good to the environment it…more

Value of a good Web site justifies redesign flurry

With the stakes increasingly high in a global economy, businesses are coming to the realization that a simple home page no longer is an adequate online presence. Today’s sophisticated buyers increasingly shop the Internet. They demand professional, efficient, engaging and secure Web sites, and they expect to find them easily through a search engine. A…more

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