Pride Marine Group, an Ontario-based dealer chain with 10 different marinas and sales offices across the province, will soon take over its newest marina on May 1. The multi-location operation is moving its dealership from Innisfil, Ontario over to the approximately 300-slip Lagoon City Marina near Brechin, on the northeast shore of Lake Simcoe.
With the official launch of boating season only weeks away from its move-in date, Pride Marine Group will have its work cut out for it, moving into the marina that was once occupied by the now bankrupt Crate Marine Sales.
"Based on the receivership, we weren't able to get in there earlier than May 1,' explains Tom Bailey, Marketing Manager for Pride Marine Group. "At first, our primary goal is to get all of our customers' boats into the water. We tried our best to contact as many Lagoon City Marina boaters as we could, which was difficult because we didn't have access to the customer list. We've met many of them at the boat shows, where we've been able to answer their questions. We encouraged them to reach out to their friends, who we may not have been able to reach as of yet, to share a survey we put together asking about their boat and slip number as well as what sort of timing they expect to launch and the types of changes they'd like to see at the marina.'
Even though Pride is seeking a customer wish list for the marina, Bailey says the company will avoid ‘rocking the boat' with changes at the outset. Rather, Pride Marine Group wants its customers to feel as though they're picking up from where they left off last year. "After getting our customers back on the water, we'll look at making improvements to the site so they're happier with the location.'
Bailey reveals that Pride's Lagoon City location be a full dealership as well as a full service marina. Currently, Pride offers nine different boat brands, including Nautique towboats; Chris Craft runabouts; EdgeWater and Robalo centre consoles; Crest pontoons; Chaparral fiberglass bowriders and cruisers; and Meridian, Sea Ray and Hattaras yachts. All of these brands may potentially be represented at the marina.
"We have a more extensive product line than the previous marina operators and we're going to do our best to deliver an unparalleled experience whether it's buying a new boat or servicing an existing one,' says Bailey. "We want the place to have a country club atmosphere where everyone will feel really at home.'
Bailey says a few customers have offered their opinions on things that can be refreshed at the business, which he says will gradually be addressed. "Ultimately, we're not interested in simply maintaining the status quo, but increasing what we deliver. At the same time, we're not going to make any drastic changes, like moving slip spaces on customers. We're there to increase their boating experience.'
Even while the dealership plans its entry into the new marina, it's wrapping up its operations at its 10,000 square-foot, landlocked dealership in Innisfil, which it first opened in 2011. "We're moving our Innisfil location to Lagoon City,' stressed Bailey. "It's not that our Innisfil location is shutting down. Our lease was up and we had the opportunity to take over the marina. Traditionally, Pride Marine Group has had locations on the water to better service our customers. We had an opportunity to better service Lake Simcoe customers, allowing them to boat to us rather than just trailer to us, and we jumped at it.'
Pride Marine Group will offer general boating supplies onsite. The future of an upstairs restaurant located in the main building is still undetermined, but Pride promises more details are forthcoming shortly after the May 1st move in.
Roger Moore, the current Manager of Pride's Innisfil dealership, will be making the move over to Lagoon City, as will the dealership's sales staff. Lagoon City will also fall under the care of Dan Pride, the General Manager of all of Pride Marine Group's southern locations.
Bailey says the marina will quickly have new signage up after the move in to provide the community reassurance. "We are a major player in the Ontario boating marketplace and we've been in business for 29 years,' he explains. "Hopefully, that will provide customers some relief about the location's future.'
Just prior to its move, the dealership is holding its second annual truckload sale from April 24 to 26 at Pride Marine Group Orillia on 75 Forestview Rd.