Seventy-five years in one city is significant.
That was what Larry Russo Sr. of New England’s Russo Marine told a crowd that gathered for a ribbon cutting Thursday at the dealership’s new flagship store in Danvers, Mass., as it moved from Medford, Mass., after 75 years of operation in that city.
“We had five different locations in Medford,” Russo said in a speech that was recorded by Soundings magazine associate publisher Paul Smith. “Our business was born there. I grew up there. And Medford was home, but I have to say Danvers has been so welcoming to us as a business. We feel comfortable here already.”
Russo Marine is cutting its overhead by 40 percent by “right-sizing” the dealership, which means selling the flagship store in Medford and moving into a smaller one — on a bigger piece of land — in Danvers on the state’s North Shore, Russo told Trade Only Today in March.
With real estate selling at a premium in the region and when dealers carry a fraction of the inventory they used to, Russo Marine no longer needed a 42,000-square-foot showroom, said Larry Russo Sr., who runs the operation with his wife, Bee, and two sons, Larry Jr. and Alex. Russo took over the business from his parents decades ago.
The building in Danvers is 25 percent smaller, but it’s on a piece of land that is 25 percent larger. The area for boats is more important than interior space post-recession, Russo said. The new store is located right by the water, the boats have highway visibility and the store has a larger footprint — all key factors in the decision to relocate.
The showroom, which was gutted, redesigned and added onto, is designed to mimic the one at the Medford store. It has a larger service area, perhaps another sign of the times, as many dealers have grown the service arm of their business after new-boat sales declined.
“That’s important for our business,” Russo said. “There’s a little more emphasis on service buildout than there was when we built the Medford location 10 years ago.”
Russo emphasized on Thursday that Russo Marine remains a strong family business that believes in the products it sells.
“We’re a family business and we never forget that,” he said. “It’s all about family. It always has been for us.”