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The drive to continuously grow and improve is at the heart of the MRAA, our members and our staff. That’s why we’re launching this blog: to share what we’re learning in our work and in our lives with you – and in hopes you’ll share what you’re learning too.


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Dealer to Dealer: March 2020

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, March 11, 2020
If you were to start a brand new dealership today, what would be your first priority for establishing a foundation for success?

“The key to starting and maintaining any business begins with your people and their culture.  You can be the best at what you do but without a strong team behind you, the long term successes will be short lived.  A formal plan to educate and maintain your team allows them to grow within your business.  Your people are the face of your business and who form the relationships with your customers.  As a business owner you can only wear so many hats and be successful.  Hire and take care of your staff and they will look out for you.” - Jeff Siems, Blue Springs Marine

“Creating an internal company culture which promotes and fosters individual growth through collaborative, team centric and employee focused programs. Build the company around building up your team. That foundation is unshakeable. Businesses should promote human flourishing, both inside and outside of the company. But we have to start with allowing our people to flourish.” - David deAndrade, White Lake Marine

“To make sure the team is clear on the mission of the organization. This goes for President to the lot person. This needs to be put in a handbook. That is used and not stored away.” - Ken Toby, Marine Sales

“The first priority must be hiring the best people for where you want the company to go.  Sometimes that means paying up for a better person, but in the long run it's worth it.” - Jeremy Anderson, Big Thunder Marine

“Putting a good business plan together would be the first thing I would do. You need to know the area and the opportunities that exist. Establishing relationships with banks and vendors, what products you would like to sell and what lines are available for that area are key. Specialize in something! Have a product or service that no one else has or can provide. Although location is always important if you specialize in something I believe it is not as important as it used to be.” - Lou Cecchini,  Off Shore Marine, Inc.

“One of my first priorities would be to have a well laid out plan for departments which would include clearly documented processes along with properly educated employees with clear job descriptions and proper training.  This has been one of our biggest challenges to implement after being in business for 30 years and allowing the business to grow without these items in place.” - David Muirhead, Willey’s Marine

“Purchase a on-water location so storage and rental could be included as revenue contributors.” - Joe Lewis, Mount Dora Boating Center

“Products are an important piece that can attract a new customer. Many products are available online, but a store that carries quality merchandise can give consumers their first chance to experience a feel/smell/touch of something that makes them decide whether or not it is the right choice and why it is important to carry a wide variety of different items when trying to see what your new area is in need of.” - Dave Larrison, Waterfront Marine

“[When you first start a dealership], you have nothing… and nobody knows who you are. My first priority would be to create vision, mission and value statements. As you go out into the world to create your dream business, people need to know who you are and what you stand for. Having these statements will inform and impress prospective lenders, vendors, employees and customers that you have a direction, how you intend to get there, and that you are someone that can be trusted.” - Larry Russo, Sr., MarineMax Russo

“My first priority would be finding the right people to help me run it. I truly believe that The Sportsman is very successful because of our staff. You have to have the right people in the right places to do the right things!” - Christi Romero, The Sportsman

“It would be the location! We’ve all heard the saying “location, location, location”  Where are your competitors located? How close are you to water for demoing? How many people drive by your location each day? Freeway visibility is a huge way to get your name out in the local community.” - Bob Bense, Superior Boats

“With experienced personnel at a premium, finding the best Dealer Management System has become more important than ever. Picking the product that has a foundation of managing the day to day business and not just an accounting system with management tools added, is critical. The time spent learning the pros and cons of the many DMS that exist will pay dividends for years to come.  The DMS will be the very foundation that the business will be built upon and will play a pivotal role  in achieving success.” - Frank Sublette, Marine Sales

What would be your first priority? Tell us below in the comment section.

Tags:  best practices  business advice  continuous improvement  culture  customer experience  dealer  dealer development  dealer to dealer  discussions  employee satisfaction  growth  industry insight  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member  relationships 

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Dealer to Dealer: February 2020

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2020
How do you and your team inspire prospects and customers to trust you?

“Lasting trust is accomplished over time. If you view your walk ins and leads like “just a number” you are going in the wrong direction. Helping a client find what truly fits their needs and not trying to cram them into your oldest non-current is a good start. My take on trust comes down to this, ‘if you wouldn’t treat your mother that way, don’t treat your client that way.’” - Greg Harvey, Tobler Marina

“At the risk of using some overused expressions, we are basically honest to a fault. We believe in complete transparency and treat customers with the utmost integrity. We under-promise but over-deliver. Procedurally, our sales process is pain free - from sea trials to closing to service after the sale – our customer are made to feel at ease and treated like friends. We’re always accessible, we carry reliable products, and we maintain consistency throughout our six locations.” - Frank Ferraro, Nautical Ventures Group

“By assimilating my life and experiences to theirs. By demonstrating that I am a professional boat dealer and I give them answers that are correct and make sense to them. I ask questions and use their answers to "fit" the boat to their needs in a transparent and entertaining way.” - Jim Sabia, Top Notch Marine

“We have always taken the approach that we are to guide and educate them on the journey to boat ownership- not sell them.” - David deAndrade, White Lake Marina

“Tell the customer the truth […] and you will earn the respect and a good customer. I have been doing this for the past 57 years.” - Anthony Cavallo, Hi-Tide Boat Sales & Service

“Review reputation with Google and Facebook. Prior customers provides that first line advantage.” - David Nichols, Eric's Outboard Marine Sevice, Inc.

“Become an advocate / educator for your customers. Work hard to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. For example, email / post tips and articles for your customers and prospects to see. Offer to take existing customers on test runs of new models as they arrive at dealership. Both of you will experience a new model together with no expectation to purchase. You never know where the experience will lead to!  Hopefully an upgrade and trade of their existing boat or potentially a referral to a friend looking for a similar boat!” - Kim Sweers, FB Marine Group

"At the conference this year I heard the statement that sales sell the first boat at a dealership and service sells the rest. We fully believe in that statement. Many of our customers do business with us because of the service they received from us before the made any purchases from us. Those same customers are our best promoters. It always seems to come back to quality service in a timely manner. Customers for life or even customers for generations." - Jeff Sanborn, Handberg's Marine

“Integrity and  backing of the product you sell, strong follow through, open communication which includes “listening” to the customer.  What tops the list for me is reassurance of how we will take care of them “after” the sale.” - Shauna Reetz, Tracker Marine Boat Center - Sidney, Nebraska

“Attitude, kindness, and holding ourselves to a higher standard, use our mistakes as wisdom and correct our shortcomings and successes, and use examples to others in our communications to teach, inspire, and build truth into the relationship. Lead by example.” - Ed Brailsford, Charlotte Ski Boats

“We get told over and over again from prospective customers, recent new customers and ones who are on their 4th+ round with Rinker’s; why they not only chose us but keep coming back … and it’s not a surprise if sometimes they pop-in to say “Hi” and/or for a visit to catch-up. It’s simple … we are genuine in showing we really do care! Our always friendly atmosphere, personalized service and amazing, timely follow-ups makes all of our customers feel special and like they have become an extension of our family, not just a ’one-and-done’ experience/relationship just to get another boat out the door. At Rinker’s Boat World we strive to provide the most comprehensive and enjoyable experience overall for the customer as our major, #1 objective. We listen to what their needs are, develop great communication with them and show empathy. Empathy matters in sales, leading with empathy can mean the difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson. When you're able to connect with a customer on a higher emotional level, the more likely they are to trust and believe in your ability to help. When salespeople understand and feel what the customer feels, they gain deeper insight into the emotional foundations of the customer's needs. This enables them in turn to define and articulate the best solution in terms that resonate with the customer.” - Carrie Ranney, Rinker’s Boat World

What do you and your team do to inspire trust? Tell us below in the comment section.

Tags:  authenticity  best practices  business advice  continuous improvement  culture  customer experience  dealer development  dealer focused  dealer to dealer  discussions  employee satisfaction  growth  industry insight  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member  relationships  workforce 

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A Rewarding Experience For All

Posted By Allison Gruhn, Tuesday, November 19, 2019
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the opportunity to connect our industry’s manufacturers, suppliers and service providers to the great work that our MRAA team does in fueling dealer success.

As a testament to the importance of that work, one dealer went out of his way last week to tell us “I’m so proud to be a member of the MRAA. It is very obvious that you are not only concerned for the industry, but for me as an individual. You don’t come to me asking for money, you come with solutions for my business and to make me better.”

One glance at one of our most recent posts on the Dealer Week Facebook page demonstrates that this is not just one person’s sentiment. Dealers rave about their excitement to attend and participate in the most visible solutions-providing service we provide on a yearly basis: MRAA’s annual conference.

But here’s the thing: None of our team’s work would be possible without the support of our partners — the manufacturers, suppliers and service provider members, and the exhibitors and sponsors who invest in our annual conference. They make the literal world-class education possible at Dealer Week, in our Certification program, and throughout the many products and services our team creates and offers all year long.

The rebranding and relaunch of our annual conference and expo has given us the ability to connect with our partners on a much deeper level. At this year’s Dealer Week, we’re thrilled to welcome 106 exhibitors and sponsors, some 60-plus of whom are current MRAA Partner Members, which means they support MRAA’s tools, resources and educational programs on a year-round basis. They invest in MRAA Membership to help our dealer members grow and find greater success.

Within the Dealer Week Expo Hall, you’ll find MRAA partners who are ready to help you tackle the issues you are facing, and to offer tools and resources to help you reach for new opportunities. It’s rewarding for me to help them deliver on their business goals, but it’s even more rewarding knowing that their investment fuels the positive impact MRAA can have on its members, the entire dealer community and ultimately, today’s boaters.

Tags:  continuous improvement  dealer development  Dealer Week  marine industry  MRAA member  partnership  relationships 

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Prepare for the Next Recession – Online and In-Person

Posted By Mike Davin, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
We’re often asked whether we have tools to help dealers survive the next recession. The answer is “yes.”

It's impossible to know when the next recession will arrive; however, as anyone who experienced the last downturn will attest, you'd be crazy not to be prepared when it does.

To help with that process, MRAA has a couple of tools available from Spader Business Management, one that is available online now, and one that will be hosted at Dealer Week in Tampa, Dec. 8-11.

The first is John Spader’s online course “Become Bulletproof for the Next Recession,” which is available via through February of 2020.

As John Spader notes in his description of the course, if your dealership survived the last recession, you may feel ready for the next one. But feeling ready isn’t the same thing as being ready. The course walks dealers through some tough questions like, “Have you and your business really gotten better since the last recession or have you just been riding the rising tide?”

The course explores what will be different about the next soft market compared to the last one, what will be the same, and walks dealers through assessments to determine the strength of their businesses. It also provides concrete benchmarks to measure your staying power and adaptability, whether you have the right people in the right seats, how well you’re steering the bus, and the speed with which you can change direction.

The course is available for purchase or for free with a Silver or Gold MRAA membership.

The second opportunity comes from David Spader, who will present “The Agile Dealership: Confidently Responding to Change & the Unknown” at MRAA’s Dealer Week.

The two-hour workshop is designed to help marine dealers identify, monitor, and respond to the key issues that their businesses are facing now and in the future. The workshop will walk through the characteristics of an agile leader, the six concerns employees have during change, key people indicators, key economic indicators, and share a dealership case study.

The course will cap off The Dealership Pathway at the Dealer Week. Early registration for Dealer Week runs through Sept. 30.

Tags:  Annual conference  best practices  continuous improvement  dealer development  future  industry insight  marine industry  MRAA member  resources 

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MRAA Hits the Road

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The past few weeks have been busy for dealers like you. Just as you’re seeing the last blast of summer sales, you’re also jumping on planes or driving across the country to visit your reps and peers at manufacturer dealer meetings. And we have been, too!

In the past month, members of the MRAA team have visited meetings for Chris-Craft, Lowe, Bennington, Tiara, Alumacraft, Barletta and Chaparral. And we have more coming soon! We’re spreading the news about Dealer Week, MRAA membership and the Marine Industry Certified Dealership program with the goal of offering you solutions to improve your business and fuel your growth. We’re also sharing information about the Dealer Week Early Bird discount, which ends Sept. 30, and passing along a Certification bundle that allows you to bundle Bronze membership with Certification to take advantage of valuable resources and benefits while completing the Certification program.

If you missed us at your meeting, or if you want more information on anything MRAA has to offer, Nikki can help. Reach Member Development Manager Nikki Duffney at 763-333-2420 or at for the full scoop.

Tags:  Annual conference  certification  continuous improvement  dealer development  dealer education  growth  leadership  marine industry  MICD  MRAA member  networking 

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Multiplying Success Through “Interdependence”

Posted By Liz Walz, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Sometimes, though you can’t take any credit for it, you find yourself doing the right thing at the right time.
That was the case this past week. The “right thing” was reading a classic book: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. And the right time was rocketing through the air on a flight to join MRAA’s Dealer Development Manager Nikki Duffney at the National Marine Trades Council meeting in Anacortes, Washington.
The part of the book I was reading was on what Covey calls “the maturity continuum” – one in which we start life with physical, emotional, mental and financial dependence, then move to independence, and eventually – on a quest to achieve our greatest success – may reach the pinnacle of maturity, interdependence.
The way Covey explains it, “interdependence is the paradigm of we – we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together.” In our society, we often put independence on a pedestal as the ultimate goal – but the author does an excellent job of reminding us that idea is misplaced.
“Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of other to achieve their greatest success,” he writes.  
I’m not telling you anything new. Most of you actively practice interdependence. For one, you experience the benefits of collaborating with your team to strengthen your business. You also might be a member of a 20 Group. And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re a member of a marine trade association. Or two. Or three. Take, for instance, the marine dealer with a marina who was a member of three of the associations in attendance at the meeting. He belongs to his state association, the MRAA and the Association of Marina Industries – each of which offers unique education and benefits to fuel success for that business owner and his team. Talk about 1 + 1 + 1 = 5!
It doesn’t hurt to be reminded of how much more we can achieve together than alone. The book was my first reminder this week, but it came to life again and again working alongside the brilliant and dedicated people who run the industry’s marine trade associations.
There are many ways in which we were already collaborating with the national, state and regional association professionals in the room. For example, we partner with the National Marine Manufacturers Association by sharing a political action committee, called BoatPAC. Many of us at the NMTC event co-host the American Boating Congress, which is produced by NMMA. MRAA collaborated with Wendy Mackie, her team at the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association and others to launch the Strategy 10 + 1 publication, a Guide to Growing the Workforce, and the MRAA Guide to Apprenticeship. And on a personal level, I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with Barb Caster of the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York to serve those marine businesses in my local community.
One final example, inspired by the value of working alongside our marine trade association peers to serve you, is a co-host program at the Dealer Week event this December in Tampa. Five associations have already signed on as Dealer Week Co-Hosts, and after meeting with our peers to explore the value of this opportunity to our organizations and you, several more have expressed interest in co-hosting.

Thanks to NMTC leadership, there were lots of seeds planted that will sprout new opportunities for all of us who participated to practice interdependence this week, which multiply our ability to fuel your success.

To learn more about co-hosting at Dealer Week, MRAA's annual conference and expo, reach out to Allison Gruhn or visit our partner page.

Tags:  communication  dealer focused  discussions  guide to growing the workforce  marine industry  MRAA member  networking  NMTA  technician shortage  workforce 

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Member Spotlight: Roxanne Rockvam

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Monday, June 17, 2019

Roxanne Rockvam, of Rockvam Boat Yards, located in Spring Park, Minn., continues to be a strong advocate for boating and water preservation. We had the chance to ask her a few questions about working in her family’s business and her new initiatives, and the Clean Boater Pledge.

Q: First of all, tell us a little about yourself and how you got your start in the boating industry.

Rockvam: I’m told my first boat ride was at 6 days old. But as a 3rd generation in the boating industry, I’ve been told “the water is in my veins”. We have a family marina and with a family business I’ve always been around it. In fact, I started on payroll at age 7 and I remember having to stand on the edge of the showcase to reach the cash register.

Although I’ve had other jobs including College Admissions, I worked holiday retail, I was the Easter Bunny at the local mall, and we can safely say after working at a family restaurant… you don’t want me as your table server, haha. The nice thing is the experience gained at these jobs has helped me with our marina, which I joined full time in 1999.

Q: Your parents, Jerry and Joyce, opened the marina over 50 years ago. Do you have certain family values you carry over into your business?

Rockvam: Absolutely. Work hard! My parents started the marina and carefully grew the business. The story is quite inspiring. Looking back at what they developed from our house with the store in the lower level, one dock, and a warehouse, to the four warehouses, repair shop, fifteen pontoons, a boat club, dry stack for 120, two docks, and three forklifts and a full time crew of 6 and part time crew of over 30! That’s your work hard inspiration story that transcends all generations. Every day when you come to the marina you get to experience it, first hand. That’s a great motivator.

Q: Rockvam Boat Yards is one of the founding “First Five” of the Minnesota Clean Marina program. Explain what it means to be a Certified Clean Marina in the state of Minnesota. What has the certification means for the team at Rockvam Boat Yards?

Rockvam: The Minnesota Clean Marina Program was a journey.  It took a working committee of about 18 business and agencies to formulate and launch. Without the help of the DNR, MN-Tap, and founding partners, it would have stayed a great idea. The idea came to life when Jerry was at CMM training in 2001 and learned about the Florida program from another classmate. That’s when Jerry pitched the idea to his MInnesota colleagues, but it wasn’t until 2008 when Sunnyside, Afton, Windmill, Bayport and Rockvam’s got together and started the plan. The collective collaboration and industry contacts brought the team to 18. The “other team” includes the Clean Marina Programs before us and their ability to guide and advise us, which greatly reduced our launch time to success. That happened when we were able to certify the first five marinas in 2010! It’s a fantastic program where each marina need to meet criteria concerning 300 Best Management Practices, things from proper hazardous waste disposal, environmental spill equipment, and the education of boating public. Next is a visit from the certification committee. We are now over 20 marina’s that fly our Minnesota Clean Marina flag. Our goal is to continue to grow our certified marinas and achieve a revenue source to help us move forward!

Q: You are involved in many initiatives that focus on educating boaters on the importance of protecting our waters. Recently, you launched and the Clean Boater Pledge. Tell us about the programs and how they came to be.

Rockvam: Pontoon Girl focuses on the boating lifestyle for women… the “Water, Sun, Friends” aspect.

For the past 30 years I’ve watched people rent our pontoon boats. Paying attention to why they’re taking a cruise, what they bring, and how much fun they have.

Pontoon Girl captures the essence of how to enjoy your boat. The things “they” don’t tell you… such as appetizers that are boat friendly, festive drinks including non-alcohol ideas, super cute boat clothes. There’s a weekly theme in the free ToonDay Tuesday newsletter and even more ideas in our members VIP Pontoon Girl group.

Here’s the cool thing, the success of Pontoon Girl has given way to an amazing platform called and over 500 boaters in one month have taken the pledge! Get your customers to take the pledge, it’s super easy and it’s a wonderful way to engage the boaters across the country to be involved in clean habits. ALL boaters are welcome! In fact, I want them ALL to take the pledge and start practicing simple things, like using a mineral based sunscreen. Really, if you change one thing… this is it. The “footprint” of sunscreen in the water is devastating and it is HUGE. Research it, use mineral based sunscreen.

Q: Lastly, what are 5 things that people may not know about you?

  1. I’m a former national champion at baton twirling, I can twirl fire baton, and I performed at the Super Bowl.
  2. I can solve a Rubik’s cube, nerd alert… I have over 100 different types.
  3. I speak Japanese and I lived in Japan.
  4. Diet Pepsi and Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of the four food groups!
  5. My dog is big, fluffy, white, and his name is Mr. Pancake – but not because he’s big, fluffy, and white… he was actually named after the restaurant in the Wisconsin Dells (long story).

Tags:  certified clean marina  family business  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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Member Spotlight: Patrick Green

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

As a young professional in the boating world, he understands the importance of continuous improvement. Since his first job, Patrick Green has grown as a professional at some of the industry's most reputable organizations.  Read on to learn more about how Patrick navigates the workplace in order to create a positive work culture.

Q: How did you get started in the boating industry?

Green: I got my first job working summers at Gordy’s in Fontana, Wisconsin on Geneva Lake. I actually was able to save enough money working my first two summers to buy a car on my own before I turned 16.

Q: Being a young professional, you fall into the category of Millennial. How do you navigate the workplace, as a leader, with that “label”?

Green: Reading the room. One of the biggest lessons I hope to carry with me 20 years from now, is understanding & learning from the generational gap. When a company's culture becomes stagnant so do its people.

Q: Tobler Marina is a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. As the Director of Certification, what benefits are you seeing within the dealership after completing and actively participating in the program?

Green: We’ve gotten in the habit of including the Certification Curriculum in our weekly manager meetings, and then trickling it down through weekly dept meetings. This has enabled us to reflect, but also allowed us to push forward with simplifying process. The accountability tools have also helped us understand why the process is so important. Employee feedback is key.

Q: As a professional who puts an emphasis on growing and continuously learning, what would you say was the most important thing you learned in the business this year?

Green: It’s important to have values in an organization that match personal values. This also relates to employees and customers - and the relationships that coincide.

Q: We always end our Member Spotlight interview with this… What are 5 things that people may not know about you?

  1. I was a zipline guide in Alaska for one summer after college.

  2. I went snowboarding every month for 23 months in a row.

  3. I love to rock climb.

  4. I studied Philosophy in college.

  5. I aspire to do the Great Loop.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Susan York-Duquette

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, October 31, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    As a marine industry leader, who has spent her whole life in the boating business, Susan York-Duquette understands the importance of honesty and fostering positive relationships with the individuals of her community.

    Q: Since 2010, you and your husband, Rory, have owned and managed Lakeview Marine. What made you decide to take on the role of owner?

    York-Duquette: I became the owner of Lakeview Marine after the sudden passing of my father, who owned a dealership in our location since the early 1990s. I felt a sense of responsibility to our employees and clients to continue the business and the services we provide. Both my husband and my mother are both important members of our staff, and the decision to keep the business going was truly because of their support and also based on my love of the industry and a desire to make my career in the boating business.

    Q: What is the most interesting decision you’ve made while in the boating business?

    York-Duquette: Interesting decisions I believe are ones that are made with more of the big picture in mind, and not purely based on profits. There is a lot of talk in the industry about our customer base aging, and the need to encourage younger people to get on the water. In our community, many people feel like if they cannot afford a boat, they cannot enjoy our lake. With this in mind, we made the decision to expand our offerings to kayak and paddleboard rentals. These rentals are not a profit center but we feel that it is important to give the people of the community more chances to enjoy our lake. I am proud to offer this service and we hope that through it, we may gain new water enthusiasts and future boaters.   

    Q: We know that many of your family members can be found around the dealership. Do you have certain family values that carry over into your business?

    York-Duquette: I grew up in my father’s dealership, and as a result our family was centered around the business in many ways. Today, my children already spend time interacting with our customers and employees. I always advocate for honesty with everyone, and expect that my children will pick up on that as they grow up. I feel that you “get what you give” and if you work hard and treat people fairly then good things will happen for you and your organization. I learned this from my parents in watching how they did business and built positive community relationships over the years.

    Q: You currently sit on MRAA Young Leaders Advisory Council. Why do you feel it’s important that the younger side of the industry get involved with YLAC?

    York-Duquette: I believe that it is very important for the younger people in the industry to get involved with trade groups because the future of all of our marine businesses depends on having a vibrant and well-organized advocacy group on our side. Issues are being debated on the state and national levels of government that will have direct impact on how we do business, and there needs to be a voice of the industry working on our behalf.  Also, there are many issues that are found in common in dealerships around the country, and by working together to face these problems and by learning from each other’s successes and failures, we will be able to better serve the customers. There is strong leadership now working on important matters such as ethanol, water access, and technician availability, and now is the time for the next generation to step up and learn from them, so we may take over those roles in the future.

    Q: As always, we want to end with this... What are 5 things that people may not know about you?


    • My husband and I live in the house I grew up in with our two daughters (Raegan 5 & Sydney 3) and our American bulldog Linkin.

    • I am a big sports fan, particularly of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots! (I know most everyone from outside of NE stopped reading here, but that is ok)

    • I have a degree in Sport Management and before I took over the dealership I was intending to have a career in the professional sports world.

    • I love to travel and enjoy exploring new places. We are fortunate to be able to travel for dealer meetings each year, and always try to extend one or two of these trips into a vacation in a new place.

    • Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love decorating and hosting gatherings for family and friends. It is the one time of the year I get to spend time at home!

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Monica Reed-Hurst

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, October 16, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    Over the course of her career, Monica Reed-Hurst, of Spend-A-Day Marina, has held many titles (balloon inflator, Sales rep, leader of the conga line, just to name a few).  But regardless of title, she knows her passion lies in the boating industry and will continue to be a strong advocate for the future of boating.

    Q: You have been part of the boating world for a while, how did you get started in the boating industry?

    Hurst: I got started in the boating industry at a very young age.  My grandfather started Spend-A-Day Marina in 1950 as a boat rental facility and through the years it has grown to be what we are today sales, service, rental and marina.  I started by inflating clown balloons at the boat show when I was around 8 years old, then I graduated to giving customers their popcorn and soda and labeling mailers, at 14 I started working on the gas dock and in the rental department.  After college, and testing the waters outside of the industry, I realized that once the boating industry is in your blood, it is there to stay.  I came back to the marina in 2005 and I haven’t looked back since.

    Q: You currently sit on MRAA Young Leaders Advisory Council. Why do you feel it’s important that the younger side of the industry get involved with YLAC? What was your reason for joining?

    Hurst: It is very important that the younger generations in the industry get involved because we have to be in touch with the heartbeat of what is happening in the industry to secure a place for recreational boating in the future.  We have to look bigger picture and see who is going to be buying boats, not only today but in 20 years, what do they want, what do our manufacturer environments look like, what legislation do we need to be aware of and support.

    The boating industry's success is much greater than each individual stores’ success and YLAC is an excellent opportunity to share ideas, exchange best practices, and to learn and develop what we need as a boating community to continue to prosper and share the lifestyle we love.

    Q: What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing what you do now?

    Hurst: If I wasn’t involved at the dealership level, I would probably be involved in some other aspect of the marine industry.  I have tried a couple other avenues before re-entering our family business and realized that my passion lies in the boating lifestyle.  My degree is in marketing so I would probably be working with a marketing company with a marine industry focus or at the manufacturer level focusing on dealer relations and marketing.

    Q: What is your proudest moment at Spend-A-Day Marina?

    Hurst: My proudest moment…when I came back we decided to become Marine Dealer Certified, which is a very extensive process with a lot of mapping and documentation involved initially.  I led that project and we maintained the certification going forward.  I have also been able to create and implement some very successful events at our dealership, including scavenger hunts, raft-offs, cookouts, and poker runs.  These are important to me because they really allow us to see how much customers’ enjoy their boating lifestyle, young and old alike.  When our customers enthusiastically ask about the next event and look forward to sharing it with their family and friends it makes me realize we are doing something right here…this is what it is all about…making and sharing the boating memories.

    Q: As always, we want to end with this... What are 4 things that people may not know about you?


    1. I lived in NYC for two years and was a dermatology rep.

    2. I have visited 27 countries…goal is to visit one new country a year…well that was the goal before my husband and I had kids.

    3. I have two beautiful little girls, Giovanna 5 ½, and Maia 4.

    4. My big break was about 10 years ago when I was an extra in a Kevin Bacon movie that was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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