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Celebrating our 15th Year of Serving South Lake County!

West Orlando Powersports and Marine is approaching their 15th year of providing South Lake County with all their powersports and marine needs. Opening in 2003 under Champions Yamaha, the business has seen major changes in the last 5 years! In 2013 we welcomed Honda to our already strong line-up of powersports OEMS that included Yamaha, Sea Doo and Can Am. At that time we effectively became known as West Orlando Powersports.
In the fall of 2013, we decided to diversify ourselves yet again to service our marine customers. With the addition of Yamaha, Evinrude, and Suzuki outboard engines, we were able to start providing boat sales, service, and parts to folks lucky enough to call Lake County, and its thousands of lakes home!
Here we are today as West Orlando Powersports and Marine.
We are your one stop powersports destination for everything from land to sea. We have hundreds of motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, PWCs, and boats in stock and provide parts and service for all the products we sell.
Our management team has over 50 combined years in experience and has been at our location since 2011. To show our appreciation, and to help us celebrate our upcoming 15th year in business, we are offering all our existing and future customers a 15% discount off parts and service simply by mentioning that you read our story in the News Leader!
Come check us out at 16333 W. Colonial Drive in Oakland or check us out at

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Marco Island Boat Show, 2017

Marco Island Boat Show, 2017

Rain came and went and came again on Saturday afternoon. Rose Marina hosted the Marco Boat Show, a new in-water boat show Friday, Saturday and Sunday, sponsored by the Marine Industry Association of Collier County.

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Chicago Boat, RV, & Sail Show

January 10-14, 2018

Wednesday 10: 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Thursday 11: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Friday 12: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Saturday 13: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sunday 14: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

WHERE: McCormick Place —South, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60616


The Best in Boating, RVing Sailing—All Under One Roof!

The Progressive® Insurance Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show® is the Windy City’s BIGGEST marine and outdoors sales event. If you love boating, RVing, OR sailing, this is YOUR show! There’s no better place to see and buy:

  • Boats for every activity, lifestyle and budget
  • The latest in RVs, campers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, and trailers
  • Sailboats, sailing gear, rigging and accessories
  • Marine engines, electronics and accessories
  • Outdoor gear 

Book trips with travel, charter and resorts too!

Plus, an incredible line up of family-friendly features, boating, sailing and RVing education and hands-on activities that make a day at the show fun for everyone!


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BUSINESS BUZZ: Mission Valley renovation; meet the legislators; Freedom Boat Club – Sarasota Herald

Mission Valley Golf
Country Club renovation

Equity members of Mission Valley Golf Country Club, in Nokomis, have voted to renovate the course.

The $1.8 million renovation project includes total re-grassing of the course with TifTuf hybrid Bermuda grass. Greens will be enlarged and re-grassed with a new ultra-dwarf Tif Eagle grass and new tees. Bunkers will be repositioned and upgraded and natural sandscape areas added and lakes expanded. The renovation is to be completed in the summer and fall of 2018.

General manager Doug Slusser said, “… this renovation is timely with the explosive population/housing growth in Venice and southern Sarasota, the club continues to upgrade itself to attract new Members,”

The member-owned club this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. It also offers tennis.

Business people to
meet with legislators

A free National Federation of Independent Business town hall forum will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 1 at Mixon Fruit Farm, 2525 27th St. E. in Bradenton.

State Sen. Greg Steube and Reps. Jim Boyd and Joe Gruders are scheduled to be there to talk about which small-business issues will be discussed during the legislative session.

Space is limited and light refreshments will be served, the group said in a news release.

To sign up to attend or for more information go to, call 850-681-0416 or send email to

Freedom Boat Club
honors top performers

The North American Headquarters of Freedom Boat Club in Venice recently hosted its annual employee meeting with 240 team members affiliated with 19 corporate-owned locations from Bradenton to Marco Island.

The top performers for 2017 were recognized by Freedom Boat Club President and CEO John Giglio and the company’s senior management team.

The Alison McMillen Award for “Employee of the Year” was won by Joe Deutschle, club manager at Regatta Pointe Marina club in Bradenton/Palmetto.

The top sales award, “Membership Executive of the Year,” was won for the fifth consecutive year by Dustin Tidwell, of the Naples, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs clubs. Membership executive Keith Lemley, of Venice and Englewood, won a sales milestone award for $5 million in sales, while Maurice Amaya, who manages sales for clubs in Pine Island, Punta Gorda and Burnt Store, achieved $1 million in sales.

The “Dock Master of the Year” award went to Bob Soffel, of Bonita Springs, in the south sector, and Kyle Phillips, of Sarasota’s Marina Jack, in the north.

The “Team Freedom” perpetual award was won by the entire dock staff of Cape Haze Marina in Englewood as the club whose overall performance is considered best among all corporate-owned locations.


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Barletta Boat Company becomes newest MRAA Platinum Partner

Barletta Boat Company, LLC, manufacturers of Barletta Pontoon Boats, a new entry into the pontoon segment of the marine industry, has become the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’s newest Platinum Partner Member, the MRAA’s highest level of support.

“We are entering the marine business with an all-new approach to dealer and customer relations,” said Bill Fenech, president and co-owner of Barletta Boats. “As a longtime participant in the RV industry, the partnership we developed with our dealer network was absolutely the difference between being a good company and being a great company. It seems a natural starting point to engage with the MRAA and all that it does to support the growth and success of the marine industry dealer body. This is an important step for us to take.”

Based in Bristol, Ind., Barletta Pontoon Boats is the newest, and maybe the most anticipated, entry into the pontoon boat segment in years. President and co-owner Bill Fenech, a longtime boater, brings nearly 30 years of RV experience to Barletta. Bill, along with brother Ron and good friend Don Clark, was part of the ownership group that led Keystone RV Company to become the largest travel trailer and fifth wheel company in the world. In 2012, the three of them created Grand Design RV and led that company to $500 million in sales in just four short years.

With a customer-focused/dealer-centric approach, high quality products and truly partnering with the dealer network, GDRV achieved record setting scores from RV dealers on the Dealer Satisfaction Index survey. The success of GDRV, along with Bill’s experience and leadership, has provided a road-map for Barletta’s future. Bill is developing an all-star team of industry professionals to help him build a solid foundation for Barletta, with the goal of launching the company’s first model later this year.

“Bill and his team have demonstrated a passion for a dealer-centric approach to conducting business,” said Matt Gruhn, president of MRAA. “We are encouraged by the thinking that this business model has been built upon, and we’re very much looking forward to partnering with Barletta Boats on dealer development projects.”

Barletta Boat Company, LLC, joins a growing roster of boat manufacturers, vendors and suppliers that have chosen to support the dealer community through partnership with the MRAA. The support of these organizations enables MRAA to expand the products and services it offers to dealers, with the goal of providing them with more tools, resources and educational opportunities to fuel their success. Find a full menu of partner benefits on the MRAA website.

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New port for annual event? Upscale vessels on display at first Marco Island Boat Show

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They say the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day he or she buys it, and the day he or she sells it.

Over the weekend, thousands got the chance to move closer to that happy day of buying a boat, at the inaugural Marco Island Boat Show, an in-water show hosted by Rose Marina. About 2,500 visitors paid the $5 admission fee, said Tiffany Sawyer-Schank, show manager and executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Collier County (MIACC), which sponsored the event.

With boats both in the water and sitting on trailers, there was something for everyone to either seriously consider or idly dream about, from jet skis and runabouts up to motor yachts. The largest vessel on display was a Prestige 630, a 63-ft. fly bridge motor yacht with a sticker price of $2,634,505, although according to the Galati Yacht Sales reps who were showing her, if you made a cash offer of $2.1 mill during the boat show, you had the chance of cruising off with a steal of a deal. Somehow, another old boating saw comes to mind, the reminder that “a boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money.”

Along with a host of options including underwater hull lights, thermal remote engine camera, hydraulic swim platform, gyroscopic stabilizers, the Prestige features a gi-normous flying bridge, big enough to accommodate a party for your dozen closest friends, with its own sink, grill and fridge.

After 75 years in business, Tappan Marina has new owner – News …

After being operated by the same family for 75 years, Tappan Marina will have a new owner on Jan. 1.

TAPPAN LAKE After being operated by the same family for 75 years, Tappan Marina will have a new owner on Jan. 1.

The current owners — Dick and Sandy Henry and her sister, Cathy Cramblett — have sold the business to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

“It’s the next chapter in our lives, and I don’t know where that’s going to lead us,” said Sandy Henry. “We’ve had a good ride here. But we will miss it. We will miss our customers.”

Added Cathy Cramblett, “It’s kind of like a divorce. You have mixed emotions.”

The conservancy district already owns the land where the business is located on U.S. Route 250 in Harrison County. The family leases the land. The sale will include the restaurant, boat sales and service and cabins.

Closing on the sale is scheduled for mid-October.

“We reached a short-term agreement with the current owners to provide storage services for Tappan dockers during this off-season,” John Olivier, the MWCD’s deputy chief-marinas, said in an email to The T-R. “This will include removing boats from the docks this fall, and placing them back on docks next spring. This really helps MWCD operationally in that we do not have to rush and mobilize ourselves to provide these services. It provides some additional revenue for the current owners, and some for us as well. Truly a win-win for both parties.”

The conservancy district has issued two RFPs (Request for Proposal) — one for operation of the restaurant and retail sales, and the other for the provision of boat and motor sales and repair and storage services. The RFPs are due at the end of October.

“We hope to have two new lessees on board by the end of the year, with those operations beginning next spring,” Olivier said.

The MWCD will provide docking services, boat rentals and bait and fuel sales. This is the same business model used at Seneca Lake Marina in Guernsey County, he said.

The marina opened in 1942, just a few years after the completion of Tappan Dam. The lake hadn’t completed filled up yet. The business was started by James Holleyoak of New Philadelphia, Sandy and Cathy’s grandfather. He was also the Tuscarawas County game warden.

At first, it operated out of the former Tappan School, which closed when the town of Tappan was removed for construction of the dam. Once the lake filled up, the marina moved to a wooden building at the current site.

Eventually, Holleyoak’s three children — Lloyd, Max and Gladys — took over operation. Dick and Sandy and Cathy and Cathy’s husband, Gary Cramblett, purchased it in 1986. Gary died in 2014.

The marina has had its ups and downs over the years. The old marina building burned to the ground in 1965 and was replaced by the current building. The dining room in the new building was heavily damaged by a tornado in 1968. Then a portion of the roof was taken off by a fast-moving storm in May of this year.

“I thought nothing more could happen and then that happened,” Cathy said. “We’ve been through a lot.”

Several generations of the family worked at the marina.

“There are so many memories here,” said Cathy, who began working there at age 11 selling candy and pop. “It was our whole childhood. Our parents brought us here, we brought our kids here, and now our kids are bringing their kids here.”

The family has been working on the sale to the MWCD for the past two years.

“It’s been a rough summer with people coming in and saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,'” Cathy said. “We wanted to get through the summer with our customers.”

Now they have to decide what to do next.

After the sale was agreed upon, Cathy said to herself, “My God, what did you just do? You’ve done this all your life. Now what are you going to do? But I’ll figure it out.”

Dick and Sandy said they are not ready to retire. They might consider working for whoever leases the property, or they may lease it themselves.

“Dick and I would still like to work,” Sandy said. “We just got those RFPs and we’re looking at them. We’re not sure if we will submit anything.”

They all said they have enjoyed their time working at the marina.

“We’ve had a good run here,” Dick said. “It’s been fun and we’ve had nice scenery and nice people.”


Reach Jon at 330-364-8415 or at

On Twitter: @jbakerTR






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Young Entrepreneurs: CC Wilcox juggles businesses, insurance sales – Galesburg Register

GALESBURG — At age 35, Galesburg resident Christopher Collin Wilcox — better known as C.C. around town — has accomplished more than many people do in their entire lives.

In addition to selling insurance full time at Miller Dredge Insurance Agency, Wilcox manages a total of 70 properties, and he expects that number to increase to 80 by the end of the year. The properties are mainly residences and apartments, including the apartments in the former Catherine Club building. 

His business ventures even include a chili-cheese dip that’s well-known to Galesburg’s foodies: Kit’s Original MUD. Wilcox’s father, Kit, invented the dip while he owned Cherry Street Restaurant and Bar, but Wilcox brought it to market as a frozen product. 

Marketing MUD while juggling his other responsibilities left Wilcox with a premature patch of gray hair, but his hard work paid off in the end. Hy-Vee was the first local business to pick up the product, and numerous others followed suit. He’s currently searching for a regional distributor who can focus on marketing MUD and expanding its presence in local stores. 

Wilcox does it all thanks to his impeccable time management skills and a flexible schedule. He keeps in touch with the community by participating in Business Networking International’s Peoria chapter, Galesburg on Track and other local organizations — and helping Kit with a boutique hotel project for downtown Galesburg. 

“In high school and college, I had a lot of teachers mention that time management was a very important thing, and I never knew why that was such an important thing until I got into the business world,” Wilcox said. “Especially in sales, I’m kind of my own boss. … If you don’t schedule things and use your calendar appropriately, time will just float away.” 

So how do all of Wilcox’s business interests intersect, and what does he do when he needs to take a break from them all? The Register-Mail asked him, and learned more about the history behind Galesburg’s favorite local dip. 

RM: Your dad invented Kit’s Original MUD, but you brought it to stores. How did that come about? 

CW: He didn’t have the time to tend to bringing it to the market, so I saw that as a challenge and started working on it. From the day he passed over the reins and said ‘go for it,’ it took me about five years before we actually got it on the shelf, and then I spent the first year and a half just going crazy. I was working between 10 and 20 hours a day, and a lot of that was weekends and late nights and that sort of thing. It was an interesting process to go through and to learn about an industry that I knew nothing about. That’s what entrepreneurship to me is all about: It’s a challenge and it’s exciting, and you don’t know whether you’re going to fail or succeed. Hopefully you succeed, but each time you try something different, you learn something new about specific tasks or an industry or about people, or about yourself. It’s a lot of fun. 

RM: Why did you think the dip would also work well as a frozen product people could buy in stores? 

CW: It has a great flavor, and it was (Kit’s) No. 1-selling item when he sold the restaurant in 1994. After ’94, the new owners didn’t keep up with the recipe. The ingredients were higher-quality ingredients, and it’s an intensive process to make it. We actually make a homemade chili, and there’s 16 different spices that go into it. People were always saying to my dad, “I wish we could still get it,” so he started making it at home and serving it at parties that he would have at his house, and then he started giving it away to people after they left the party as a little parting gift. When he had extra he put it in the freezer, and then he saw how you would take it out of the freezer and it still tasted perfectly fine. We were like, “huh. Maybe that’s how we can sell it.”

RM: While marketing MUD, you made connections you later used as an insurance salesman. Does it also help you as a property manager to be involved in the insurance business? 

CW: Property management and insurance definitely go hand-in-hand. Insurance is all about risk management and trying to keep everyone safe, so all of that helps me look at a building when I’m maybe going to buy the building and say, “this is a good building,” or, “these are things I can see from an insurance standpoint that should be fixed.” Then I get to insure the building myself, which is nice, and then I’m out there talking to contractors doing work for me in some of my buildings, and they need insurance, of course. It’s a circle of life. The more you get out there and put yourself out there, the more that things are going to come back around. 

RM: How did you get into property management, anyway? 

CW: It was kind of something I always thought about wanting to do, and my father had a property complex that he owned at the time (The Locust Apartments), and his property manager had to retire. It was a 24-unit complex, and he was definitely hesitant to let me do it. It’s always a little worrisome when you go into business with your family, because you don’t want to cause problems — he technically was my boss during that time — but I think he was pretty happy with what I did. I want to say 18 units were rented of the 24 at the time I took over, and within a year, all 24 were rented. Over the next five years or so, he saw between a 95 and 100 percent vacancy rate; the only time they weren’t rented was because we evicted somebody, somebody moved or we needed to do some repairs. 

RM: What are some skills you need to be an effective property manager? 

CW: You have to be very careful about how you treat people. You have to treat them with respect and try to be understanding with things that happen in their lives, but you also have to be firm with your rules. I bend on my rules more often than I should, but I’m also a softie a little bit, and I believe in the goodness of people. The harder-nosed person you can be, you’re probably going to be a little better in some aspects, but I also believe that when you give a little to somebody over here, you’re going to get that back over here. So you definitely have to be able to communicate very well with people. 

RM: You also use those communication skills in insurance. What are some of the most difficult things about being an insurance salesman that people may not think of?  

CW: Anyone can start off in insurance or other sales jobs and sell to the people they know and their friends and family, but eventually you burn through those people and you have to build other business, and continue to build new business. It’s all about perseverance and not letting “no” stop you, and when you hear “no” so often, not taking it personally — which I still do. If you could take emotion out of your daily interactions you’d probably be the best salesman there is, but I’m not very good about taking emotion out of things.

RM: Insurance is very technical and can be difficult for customers to comprehend. How are you able to break it down so your customers understand it better? 

CW: That’s been a learning opportunity for me over the years. Initially you get licensed and you learn all the technicalities and you want to impress people, or use those because they’re new to you. You quickly realize that that goes straight over people’s heads and they don’t understand it, so you need to learn how to speak in layman’s terms. I just have learned over the years when I talk to people about certain things, how they respond. Are they receptive, or do they kind of look at me with a blank stare? It can be challenging for sure, but I just try to make it as simple as possible.   

RM: How did you decide on insurance as your main career path? 

CW: I did not decide on insurance — I think a lot of people in the insurance world are in that same boat — it actually found me. I was working as a teller for FM Bank and going to school part time at Carl Sandburg College in 2004. A position opened up here and I knew the owners, our original founder Larry Miller and (his wife) Brenda Miller. They actually contacted me and said, “hey, we’ve got a position open. We think you’d be a great fit for it, and are you interested in coming in and talking with us and maybe working for us?” I was like, “I don’t know … why are you calling me again?” (laughs) 

RM: Juggling all these things must be stressful at times. What do you do to relax? 

CW: I have been golfing a lot more, so I really enjoy that, and I snowboard, so I try to go once every year or two. I typically go out west to the Colorado area, and Galena is close, so I’ve been to Chestnut Mountain (Resort) up there, and Wisconsin. I also play racquetball with my dad and some of his friends or business colleagues, and have gotten pretty good at that. I’d like to start a racquetball club; I think it’d be cool to bring back the game, because the sport seems to have died off for the younger generation. I think it’s a great sport.

RM: What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs looking to start a business or get into the insurance business in Galesburg? 

CW: I would say go with what you’re passionate about, or what you tend to be good at. I went into insurance not being good at it, not being passionate about it, and came to love aspects of it. The freedom of the job helped bring me to something that I’ve always been passionate about, and that’s real estate and construction, carpentry kind of stuff. So follow your passions in life and the things that you tend to be good at, and if you’re going to start a business or go into sales, find mentors or people who are already in the community who you can go to meet with and have them help you. Never, ever be afraid to ask questions; never think that you know everything. 

To get in touch: 

C.C. Wilcox 

Account executive at Miller Dredge Insurance

(309) 343-1168, ext. 2116

To order Kit’s Original MUD:

Visit or Hy-Vee, 1975 National Blvd. or 2030 E. Main St., Galesburg.

Rebecca Susmarski: (309) 343-7181, ext. 261;; @RSusmarski

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Names and faces: Oct. 16, 2017

Linda Benedict was named CareerSource Suncoast’s business development director. In her new role, she is responsible for discovering, researching and implementing potential revenue streams, including new lines of business and alternative funding sources. She also will build innovative programs, develop contract proposals and implement the vision of CareerSource Suncoast. Before joining CareerSource Suncoast, Benedict was a business consultant with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida.

John Secor was named marketing and communications director for the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. His responsibilities include overseeing all facets of the organization’s marketing and public relations to support ticket sales, assist in donor cultivation and satisfaction, and maintain positive relations with the media. The role will be particularly vital as the organization works to close out its Heart Soul Capital Campaign, a $6 million effort to transform the organization’s 2.5-acre Sarasota campus into a cohesive, state-of-the-art theater arts center.

Mike Presciti was named regional vice president, Tampa Bay, for IBA Consultants, and David Handley joined the Manatee County firm as an inspector. Presciti will coordinate IBA’s services that include cladding, glazing, roofing and waterproofing consultation for new construction and building renovations; forensic and diagnostic services related to building envelope failures; jobsite testing; and third-party inspections. Handley joins IBA with more than 10 years’ experience in commercial and residential new construction and remodeling.

John Sackett was named general sales manager and Morgan Rushnell was named land project manager at M/I Homes of Sarasota. With a combined 34 years of experience, Sackett and Rushnell will be responsible for meeting the organization’s sales targets through planning and budgeting, as well as providing feasibility support for new land acquisitions, respectively.

Joe Deutschle, the club manager for the Regatta Point Marina club of Bradenton/Palmetto, was named the Freedom Boat Club’s employee of the year.

Wagner Realty’s listing honors for September 2017 went to Terri Marcoux (El Conquistador); Sandy Greiner (Cortez Road); Dia Wilson (Longboat Key); Lynda Melnick (Melnick Property Group at State Road 64 East); Donna Bucher (Manatee Avenue West); Rae Ellen Hayo (Anna Maria Island); Coy Carter (First Street in Sarasota) and Margaret Watson (Lakewood Ranch). Sales honors went to Lucy Halterman and Marsha Winegarden (El Conquistador); Sandy Price (Cortez Road); Lynda Melnick (Melnick Property Group at State Road 64 East); Sherry Flathman (Manatee Avenue West); Deborah Thrasher (Anna Maria Island); Jack Whittington (First Street in Sarasota); Cyndi Myers and Diane Lee (Lakewood Ranch) and David Fletcher (commercial division).

Please send all Names and Faces announcements to Mike Garbett at Photos accepted in jpeg format only.

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