Partner acquires Freedom Boat Club, seeks growth

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The owner of Freedom Boat Club has bought out his partner as part of his continuing effort to build the members-only boat club into a national enterprise.

John Giglio bought the boat club, which offers members boat use without maintenance, storage or upkeep, with partner Bob Daley in early 2010, according to an article in the Gulf Coast (Fla.) Business Review.

Giglio bought Daley out early last month in an effort to focus on growth, he told the publication.

The Venice, Fla.-based company runs 11 corporate-owned stores on the Gulf Coast, and there are 50 franchise facilities, including locations in Texas and New Hampshire.

Daley and Giglio had worked at the company for several years. Giglio began in sales in 2004. Daley will stay on with the business part time.

Founded in 1989, the Freedom Boat Club has grown rapidly during the past few years. Annual revenue grew 20 percent in 2011 from 2010, executives say, and Giglio expects growth of at least 20 percent again this year.

Giglio believes the slowdown has become an opportunity for Freedom because the business bills itself as a less expensive alternative to boat ownership. Club members pay a one-time fee of about $5,000, which is followed by monthly payments of $149 to $199. Members have access to a wide fleet, everything from fishing boats to cruisers. Members pay for fuel for each trip.

One of Giglio’s first moves after he took full ownership was to refocus on growing the franchise segment. The firm recently hired a franchise sales director, and it targets markets in Chicago and Michigan, near the Great Lakes, and areas around the Chesapeake Bay, in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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