As part of its ongoing strategic growth and expansion plan, Freedom Boat Club announced the launch of a dozen new franchise-owned clubs, including West and East Coast locations.
Huntington Beach, Calif., is the site of the newest franchise, and it is the second launch for the brand in California in the past 18 months. The first one was in San Diego.
A grand opening event was held in late June at the club’s Peter’s Landing Marina that attracted representatives of the California State Assembly and dignitaries from the California State Senate Office, the city of Orange and the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“We were very pleased by the very strong and welcome reception the club is enjoying in the market,” Freedom Boat Club franchise owner-operator Andrew Hard, a former club member himself and a Florida-based financial adviser, said in a statement. “Our San Diego franchise owners also joined us for this special event and have been equally impressed by the strong interest and membership activity in Southern California.”
Club President and CEO John Giglio also participated in the grand opening festivities.
“It was a very strong event that drew a lot of horsepower to the club,” Giglio said. “Based on the feedback we heard that day from many of the regional leaders, I believe the boating club concept will be highly successful in this market.”
On the East Coast, another new franchise made its Florida debut in New Smyrna Beach in June, joining more than 30 clubs operating in the state.
Bobby Parker, of Parker Yacht Sales, the son of former Sea Ray dealership owner Roy Parker, of Orlando’s Parker Boats, opened the Daytona Beach Freedom Boat Club franchise in 2014 and won the “Rookie of the Year” award. He added the second club location to meet growing member demand.
“New Smyrna Beach is a popular boating destination, and several of our Daytona Beach members live in that area and wanted a location closer to home,” he said. “Besides attracting more locals, we also believe New Smyrna Beach will be a top draw for the Greater Orlando market, whose boaters come to the coast and this area for their boating and fishing activity.”
Parker’s organization has doubled its membership in the past year and expects that the new club will further build its base. The new club is in shared building space with a paddleboard company in a private lagoon. It has installed new docks and piers and has options to handle as many as three dozen boats in the future.
In 2016 Parker has his eye on Florida’s Palm Coast for continued club expansion.
“We’re enjoying record franchise and membership growth nationwide,” Giglio said. “From existing club owners like Bobby Parker and others who are developing new clubs to newcomers in brand new markets, like Andrew Hard in California, we’re expecting to reach our corporate franchise 100-club milestone goal within a year.”
Other recently launched 2015 franchise locations include Fort Lauderdale, Stuart and Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Brick, N.J.; St. Joseph, Mich.; and Huron, Ohio.
Additional new locations confirmed to open either later this summer or for the 2016 season include Lake George, N.Y., and Deep River, Conn., along with Miami and a second corporate-club location in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
“In addition to the new franchise clubs already on the dockets, we have several targeted areas nationwide we’re seeking to develop,” Giglio said. “Interestingly enough, we have also received inquiries from Canada and abroad, so international expansion is likely also in our future.”