brick

Dealership Closed

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I have posted many times here about the great service I get from my dealer, Huggins Outboard in Albany GA. I have purchased 4 Chaparral boats over 25+ years, and have them do all of my service work. The relationship has been great, almost like family. 

So I called last week to set up a time to get winterized (yup, even in GA), only to find out that after 71 years in business, they have shut down. Sadly, Richard Huggins, 3rd generation owner, had lost his battle with cancer in 2014. Ownership of Huggins Outboard passed to his daughter, who recently liquidated the business. 

RIP Richard Huggins. Sad that Huggins Outboard has passed with you...

brick

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That's too bad.  I think the vast majority of boat dealers are small family businesses.  I've read somewhere that few businesses survive to the 2nd generation, and even less to the 3rd gen.

The last two boats I've purchased have come from dealers that had at least two generations of family working there.

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That is sad.  Makes me wonder what the state of the industry is these days.  We have a West Marine up near Lake Texoma (the only one near the lake).  Very handy when you're working on the boat and realize you need a part or even some advice.  Swung by there Sunday afternoon, pulled on the door, and it was locked.  Glanced at the open/closed sign and it read "closed".  A gentleman was just inside the door and opened it to let me know that they had permanently closed.  I asked why and he said the property rent went up and there simply wasn't enough business for it to make sense.  Lake Texoma is a HUGE lake and there are thousands of boats.  Sad that even a West Marine cannot make ends meet.

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West Marine - I would not patronize them if my boat was sinking and they were the only one selling bilge pumps. A horrible company around here at least. They were pretty much driven out of business in my area due to everyone driving past them to the next marine store. 

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7 minutes ago, Phillbo said:

West Marine - I would not patronize them if my boat was sinking and they were the only one selling bilge pumps. A horrible company around here at least. They were pretty much driven out of business in my area due to everyone driving past them to the next marine store. 

I think the West Marine by us gets the business because they are open longer and on Sundays.  There are a few other marine stores that are cheaper but have more limited hours.  They are family or local owned, so I can see where trying to have a lower overhead would be beneficial.  In general, if I can wait, I'll internet order.  But still, its a shame there isn't an option for brick and mortar store.  Fortunately, the couple of dealers in our area seem to be doing well.  

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54 minutes ago, newboat2016 said:

That's too bad.  I think the vast majority of boat dealers are small family businesses.  I've read somewhere that few businesses survive to the 2nd generation, and even less to the 3rd gen.

The last two boats I've purchased have come from dealers that had at least two generations of family working there.

Ive noticed around here with other family business the kids simply do not want it.  They grow up in it work it, then branch out get degrees set up their own business or get other jobs.  Some of I think to is they look at the books and look at net worth or annual cash flow and think there isn't as much money here as I thought I can liquidate and walk away with a nice check.  Owning your business isn't always what its cracked up to be nor does it mean you make a lot of money

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38 minutes ago, TexasPilot71 said:

That is sad.  Makes me wonder what the state of the industry is these days.  We have a West Marine up near Lake Texoma (the only one near the lake).  Very handy when you're working on the boat and realize you need a part or even some advice.  Swung by there Sunday afternoon, pulled on the door, and it was locked.  Glanced at the open/closed sign and it read "closed".  A gentleman was just inside the door and opened it to let me know that they had permanently closed.  I asked why and he said the property rent went up and there simply wasn't enough business for it to make sense.  Lake Texoma is a HUGE lake and there are thousands of boats.  Sad that even a West Marine cannot make ends meet.

Boating market in general has/is been in decline.  Simply put its a luxury activity.  And with cost of living being hire and wages staying below cost of living people have to make choices, and luxury items go first.  Not to say our economy is going badly right now because its actually doing pretty good, problem being is there just hasn't been a correction yet in terms of pay in comparison to cost of living.  Another problem as I have said before is cost of new boats.  Your average 20-22ft boat is a 60k or more investment, I do pretty well and at 60k I cant see investing in that.

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25 minutes ago, Roady68 said:

I think the West Marine by us gets the business because they are open longer and on Sundays.  There are a few other marine stores that are cheaper but have more limited hours.  They are family or local owned, so I can see where trying to have a lower overhead would be beneficial.  In general, if I can wait, I'll internet order.  But still, its a shame there isn't an option for brick and mortar store.  Fortunately, the couple of dealers in our area seem to be doing well.  

I go to the same West Marine store. I like the people there. They recognize me and that to me is more valuable than the part I'm looking for. If I have a problem, they really try and help me resolve it. 

There was a second WM store which was closer to me but unfortunately they closed it. If WM were to close up, we have many other shops to pick from.

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As crazy as it sounds, here in the metro area of Minneapolis, there aren't too many marine focused places to get your stuff yet we have lots of lakes and one large lake smack dab on the edge of the city.  Our one west marine store is in what must be fantastically high rent location but if you need something now, it's one of the only games in town that isn't a boat dealer with an ancillary couple of shelves that sells a handful of stuff.  Amazon I think has taken that market over.

I agree on the cost of boats.  At my lake house my neighbor is new to boating and new to lake home ownership and his brand new 2017, very entry level Glastron was just about 60k.  It's about the lowest-end new bowrider i've seen...for 60k....for three months of use per year.  I remember when 60k was actually a lot of money.   

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26 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

As crazy as it sounds, here in the metro area of Minneapolis, there aren't too many marine focused places to get your stuff yet we have lots of lakes and one large lake smack dab on the edge of the city.  Our one west marine store is in what must be fantastically high rent location but if you need something now, it's one of the only games in town that isn't a boat dealer with an ancillary couple of shelves that sells a handful of stuff.  Amazon I think has taken that market over.

I agree on the cost of boats.  At my lake house my neighbor is new to boating and new to lake home ownership and his brand new 2017, very entry level Glastron was just about 60k.  It's about the lowest-end new bowrider i've seen...for 60k....for three months of use per year.  I remember when 60k was actually a lot of money.   

that's what funny 60k isn't that much at least in terms of cost of things.  look at cars and trucks.  But like i said  when everything  cost more things get cut and boats are probably top of the list specially in cold climates where you get a 90 day season.  When you start talking 50-80k  for average boats and people that can probably logically pull that off have to make six figures or better, your available market gets slim

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I'm a member of one of those facebook marketplaces that is just for selling boats.  I like to get the notifications especially when the feels like temp here was 2 degrees yesterday.  People are selling their tenders off of their yachts for 300k used.  It's bit of an eye opener when the most expensive lake sized boat I can come up with barely makes a dent in the price of some of these not so big center console style boats especially when they have triples.   We think 140k surf boat is unreasonably expensive in my neck of the woods.  

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Lewisville West Marine also closed shop.  

The problem with 2nd - 3rd generations is they think the grass is greener elsewhere.  Many, later figure out later that the payout was a short-term gain, and most end up enslaved to a boss; who keeps them around at the bosses will.  At the end of the day, no one takes care of you, but yourself.  You either go make your dreams come true, or go to work for someone else working on their dream.

Im a business owner now for the 4th time.  I've also worked for small businesses and corporations.  If I had stayed with the corporate life I probably would have made more money over the last 30 years, and I'd have more saved for retirement.  But I myself was miserable with both of my corporate jobs.  I had much happier results with small business, but found loyalty to employees lacking there too.

Ultimately, work is work, it all sucks compared to play time.  But owning a business is rewarding and while I may can make more money elsewhere, you have to evaluate you happiness with your environment.  Sure I get frustrated and carry higher risk of failure, but I'm in control and if things aren't making me happy, I have the power to change things up.  This is wisdom that I have now, but it cost me 30 years to realize it.  Young 2nd & 3rd generation kids come in thinking they can/will do better.  A few do, most don't.  Life's a tough teacher.  Tougher than most of our youth is prepared for.

Boats and cars are accelerating in cost faster than the economy and are getting farther and farther from the average joe.  Buying new cars and toys by financing only ensures  that your monthly expenses stay high, also enslaving people to the thinking that they must have steady pay.  This keeps many from taking the risk of business ownership.  

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2 hours ago, Duane2135 said:

Lewisville West Marine also closed shop.  

The problem with 2nd - 3rd generations is they think the grass is greener elsewhere.  Many, later figure out later that the payout was a short-term gain, and most end up enslaved to a boss; who keeps them around at the bosses will.  At the end of the day, no one takes care of you, but yourself.  You either go make your dreams come true, or go to work for someone else working on their dream.

Im a business owner now for the 4th time.  I've also worked for small businesses and corporations.  If I had stayed with the corporate life I probably would have made more money over the last 30 years, and I'd have more saved for retirement.  But I myself was miserable with both of my corporate jobs.  I had much happier results with small business, but found loyalty to employees lacking there too.

Ultimately, work is work, it all sucks compared to play time.  But owning a business is rewarding and while I may can make more money elsewhere, you have to evaluate you happiness with your environment.  Sure I get frustrated and carry higher risk of failure, but I'm in control and if things aren't making me happy, I have the power to change things up.  This is wisdom that I have now, but it cost me 30 years to realize it.  Young 2nd & 3rd generation kids come in thinking they can/will do better.  A few do, most don't.  Life's a tough teacher.  Tougher than most of our youth is prepared for.

Boats and cars are accelerating in cost faster than the economy and are getting farther and farther from the average joe.  Buying new cars and toys by financing only ensures  that your monthly expenses stay high, also enslaving people to the thinking that they must have steady pay.  This keeps many from taking the risk of business ownership.  

well said, I would add though a business owner is often a slave to the customer which can be worse than a boss, also a business owner has much more liability to market changes than an average employee.  Ive been in business before, like you said its not always what its cracked up to be, but can be very rewarding and sometimes lucrative.  And being your own boss is worth something.  Starting new business is hard partially like you said the market is unpredictable, so many say why chance it,  I also think the risk vs reward is much greater than it used to be.  Also a lot of the good ideas or the one off ideas are gone, most people have the options of only doing another car dealer, another building company, its tough.

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There's big highs and lows with owning your own business.  My wife owns a consulting company and some years are indescribably lucrative and other years not nearly so.  The stress that goes with it is enormous.  In my own industry, there is an enormous amount of M&A and all of the small guys are selling out to the private equity for big EBITA premiums.  

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4 hours ago, Duane2135 said:

Lewisville West Marine also closed shop.  

 

They actually relocated to a new big store in Frisco.  That's where I had to go the other night since Denison closed.  I like the store and it has a great selection, but it's not close to the boat for those spur of the moment needs.  

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7 hours ago, Phillbo said:

West Marine - I would not patronize them if my boat was sinking and they were the only one selling bilge pumps. A horrible company around here at least. They were pretty much driven out of business in my area due to everyone driving past them to the next marine store. 

The problem here is there are no other marine stores.  None!  Walmart near the lake has a decent marine supply, but nothing compared to WM.  I need to move to Florida...haha

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Family businesses suffer from the. " I never really enjoyed working compared to partying. "

Sell the business & let me party on whatever feels so good to me.

Oh well.

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Brick, thats a shame that your dealer closed.

Did you by any chance find out were your favorite mechanic went?

 

.

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1 hour ago, Toddler said:

Brick, thats a shame that your dealer closed.

Did you by any chance find out were your favorite mechanic went?

 

.

I have not. Trying a new dealership in LaGrange, where we boat now. Fingers crossed...

brick

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Sorry to hear that, my ol' girl came from Huggins.  I still use my transom tie down straps that are embroidered with Huggins Outboard.   I still love my 1930, and after seeing the cost of new, I would think twice or three times before getting a new one.  I just bought a new Duramax Denali, and like other have said, everything is stupid money these days.   

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33 minutes ago, p1mlb01 said:

Sorry to hear that, my ol' girl came from Huggins.  I still use my transom tie down straps that are embroidered with Huggins Outboard.   I still love my 1930, and after seeing the cost of new, I would think twice or three times before getting a new one.  I just bought a new Duramax Denali, and like other have said, everything is stupid money these days.   

That's funny - I remember those straps. Had them on all my boats. My 220 has the "serviced by Huggins Outboard" sticker, too. 

brick

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The only way I'd ever buy a new boat is via wining the lottery. Same with my truck. To replace both boat and truck new would cost $120+.  If my brother hadn't left me his boat, I wouldn't even have one, let alone considering having one.

Can I get my boat to 60 years old? 

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2 hours ago, SST said:

The only way I'd ever buy a new boat is via wining the lottery. Same with my truck. To replace both boat and truck new would cost $120+.  If my brother hadn't left me his boat, I wouldn't even have one, let alone considering having one.

Can I get my boat to 60 years old? 

My neighbor won 550M in the Powerball a few years back.  You should see whats on his shore now compared to his pre-winner days.  

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