Danny Goldenberg is one of the youngest principals in the marine industry. A former speed boat racer, Danny and his business partner started Marine Connection in a 2,000 square-foot warehouse space with one boat, two chairs and a laptop computer. Today the operation has grown to three locations across southern Florida (Vero Beach, West Palm Beach and Miami). Danny is a proud member of the Entrepreneurs Organization of South Florida and has a 6-month-old daughter.
Talk a bit about how you, personally, found yourself in the boating industry.
I have been a boater by birth. My parents took me fishing and boating for as long as I can remember. It’s truly in my DNA. My first boat was a 13-foot inflatable dinghy and I was on it all summer. I must have been 14 or 15. I used to gather all my friends and spend the whole day on it. I bought and sold many boats throughout my life and I always ended up selling them for more than the purchase price. I decided to enter the retail market in 2006 because I wanted to be close the boating. It all started with the passion of the sea. We went thru the recessions by dealing in bank-seized boats and we were really good at it. We re-marketed thousands of used boats all over the world. We decided to go in to new boats in model year 2012. We have been growing our volume in new boats ever since.
How has being an MRAA member helped Marine Connection both streamline day-to-day operations and craft long-term strategy?
We love going to the Marine Dealer Conference. That is an amazing and much needed event for us. We also take advantage of the resources that are available to us such as partnering up with companies like CSI and F&I resources. They are very valuable and we use them everyday. We also closely follow MRAA’s advocacy efforts and gain confidence in our industry to further invest.
What do you see as the No. 1 challenge facing the boating industry? How are your dealership(s) countering?
I believe the No.1 challenge is the rising boat prices. Boating is becoming a very expensive activity and our demographics are drastically changing. We are having hard time getting first time buyers into boating. They are very important for the future of our industry. Grow boating is doing a great job but boating industry should learn from RV & Auto industries to streamline manufacturing and create efficiencies. We are trying to work with our manufacturers to create affordable boat models to capture a wide variety of demographics and most importantly get people into boating!
Offer some advice to small (or large) dealerships as they battle the lull of winter.
They should offer winter friendly products that would complement their existing customers. Some dealers go into winter power sports. I think that is smart. The ones with storage & service facilities can offer incentives to do work in winter months. They can also partner up with dealers in the south to utilize their human resources and customers that like to use their boats in southern states.
What book or business book are you currently reading? Do you have a review?
I love the read biographies of successful business people around the world. I read couple of those every month. Currently, I’m reading the story of Gerald Ronson “ Leading from the front”. He is a very successful businessman from UK. I was fortunate enough to meet him personally. One of our leisure industry investments led us to lease one of his commercial properties in London. He talks about being personally involved in the details his businesses and keeping in touch with all employees at all levels. “ Leading from the front” is a very inspiring story. His ups and downs are especially notable.
Marine Connection, was once again included on Boating Industry’s most recent list of Top 100 boat dealers. In your own words, discuss a few elements you see as reasons behind your dealership’s sustained success and its reputation as a top-tier dealer among industry peers.
I believe one of the elements behind our success is our continued drive to re-invent Marine Connection. Every year, we come up with new marketing ideas and actually execute them. This could be a new Billboard Idea or a cutting edge e-mail marketing strategy or social media campaign. I think it’s very important to be pro-active in this new era of Marketing.
Another way of doing this is by pushing the envelope on customer satisfaction. We recently came up with a new freebie package that included a good quality Turkish Beach Towel with our logo on it, 2 Pair of Sunglasses with our logo on it and a Marine Connection Hat. These are all good quality items and they represent our way of saying thank you to our customers. We double the package for boats 30 feet and above.
Finally it all comes down to our team and our reputation, which embodies why we are doing what we are doing. We have a great DNA and we build on this everyday.