From a sales career in Boston radio to owning his home port

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I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else or doing anything else.

zeien1020

I have the extreme good fortune to be the owner of Kingman Yacht Center on the eastern shore of Buzzards Bay. Kingman hosts almost 400 boats on seasonal slips and moorings and welcomes more than 700 daily and weekly boaters each summer.

In addition to full-service boat maintenance and repair, Kingman offers a beautiful natural harbor, a great swimming beach, shops and provisions. The Chart Room restaurant, located on the property, offers waterfront dining and spectacular sunset views over the harbor.

We help people have a good time. We’re successful when everyone is enjoying their boats, using them safely, using them often and having a wonderful time on the water.

I came here from the corporate world. I was in the radio business in Boston for more than 20 years. I worked in sales and marketing for CBS Radio and a couple of other companies, but primarily CBS’s WBCN, starting about 1981. Great times, the whole Charles Laquidara, Mark Parenteau, Ken Shelton era. I’m still in touch with many of them, but I don’t regret leaving at all. It was a young person’s business.

This is my 16th summer at Kingman. We shopped for five years to find the right property. I had been a boater here (off and on) since I was 6 or 7 years old. It was just a coincidence, but I was very fortunate to end up in my home port.

So there I was, having just closed on the purchase of the largest marina on Cape Cod, knowing absolutely nothing about running a boatyard and scared to death that I was going to screw it up. It worked because I inherited a wonderful staff of people and, if I’ve done one thing right, it was to invest in those people.

Call it “Golden Rule Management.” I’d spent enough time in other places to know how not to treat people, and I vowed to make this work environment the kind of place that I’d want to work in — even if I didn’t own the place.

The mantra is, “You could be making more money doing something somewhere else, so if you don’t enjoy working here, please find something else to do.” The success of this perspective is obvious to our customers, and I don’t think we’ve ever had to run a help-wanted ad.

Our marketing slogan is “Brand new every day; don’t miss a minute.” It’s an expression of why I like being here. I work in a truly beautiful, ever-changing spot, rural yet bustling with energy. I get to watch people have a wonderful time at the Chart Room. I can go out on the water surrounded by people enjoying themselves there. And I get to share this time with my amazingly talented crew that I’m very proud of. They make it possible for me to enjoy it.

If I had it to do all over again, I don’t think I could appreciate what this opportunity offers if I didn’t pay my dues in the real world first. If I were to advise someone about getting into the marina business, I’d say that you need to be passionate enough about the opportunity to throw yourself into it. If you’re not prepared to live it, don’t do it. You won’t get rich doing this. But the lifestyle is priceless.

Most important: Your only real job is to make sure that people have a good time. How bad can that be?

Scott Zeien is the owner of Kingman Yacht Center in Cataumet, Mass.

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