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MDCE 2013: Legendary Marine leads Top 100 dealers list again

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo concluded Wednesday night with the announcement of co-host Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 boat dealers in North America at a black-tie gala.

For the second year in a row, Legendary Marine of Destin, Fla., topped the list and was named the Top 100 Dealer of the Year.

“Legendary wowed us with the wave of improvements the company made over the last year, from the Five Star Military VIP Program to the Legends Boating Club,” Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet said in a statement. “It’s a record that made it nearly impossible for us not to recognize Legendary for the second year in a row.”

Legendary Marine managing partner Fred Pace said this morning from Orlando International Airport that it had been a long night of celebrating.

“There are a lot of really, really quality dealers out there, so it’s a truly humbling experience, to be sure,” Pace said of winning the award for a second year.

“There’s no question that our 20 Group has been a major contributor to the improvement of our marinas, as well as a lot of the things we’ve learned here at MDCE,” Pace said. “Our managers came here thirsty for knowledge, and we came away from this MDCE with a lot of tools. Our guys are fired up and ready to implement some of those tools at our stores.”

Asked about the back-to-back wins, Pace said the recession provided some of the impetus for continual improvement.

“It really made us want to become a better dealership than we were before — beyond new and used boats, all of the other elements of the dealership,” he said.

Pace was heading back to Destin this morning with another trophy to display.

“I got to be the one that went up to accept the award, but it was 123 hard-working people at our four stores that allowed us to win the award,” he said. “It’s been a great run for us, and getting this award gives us impetus to continue to improve.”

Rounding out the top three dealers were Gordy’s Lakefront Marine Inc., of Fontana, Wis., and The Sail & Ski Center of Austin, Texas.

Boating Industry also recognized seven other companies with special “Best in Class” awards.

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