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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 jon.baker@timesreporter.com.

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 https://www.kitsoriginalmud.com or Hy-Vee, 1975 National Blvd. or 2030 E. Main St., Galesburg.

Rebecca Susmarski: (309) 343-7181, ext. 261; rsusmarski@register-mail.com; @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 mgarbett@bradenton.com. Photos accepted in jpeg format only.

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With fewer people fishing, reduction to hatcheries, stockings seems likely – Tribune

Updated 9 hours ago

Maybe the issue isn’t the issue.

Last month, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioners gave their executive director, John Arway, the authority to trim up to $2 million from the agency budget. He has to make the cuts if state lawmakers don’t raise the cost of fishing licenses or otherwise provide the agency additional revenue by July 1.

Just what might fall to the axe isn’t set in stone.

But the plan floated so far includes shutting down the Oswayo trout hatchery — eliminating 240,000 adult trout — and scaling back production of several warmwater species, among other things.

That possibility has generated a lot of talk.

Perhaps it misses the bigger point, though.

Commissioner Eric Hussar of Union County said the real issue isn’t the fate of one hatchery. It’s what to do with 13.

That’s how many the commission has. Whether it needs them all to satisfy fewer fishermen who get on the water less often is the question, Hussar said.

“Our anglers are changing. Participation in fishing is changing,” Hussar said. “The trends, if they continue five, 10, 20 years, paint a different future in terms of supply and demand and costs and benefits than what we’ve seen in the past.”

For decades, Arway said, the commission’s trout hatcheries have operated with one goal: to produce the maximum amount of fish possible. That’s remained the case even as interest in fishing has declined.

Each year from 1977 through 1995, the commission sold more than one million licenses. Sales peaked in 1990 at just less than 1.2 million.

By comparison, sales averaged about 847,000 a year over the five years prior to this one.

Yet the commission hasn’t adjusted, Arway said.

“You continue to produce more product for fewer people. It doesn’t make much sense,” he added.

An independent look at the commission agrees.

Master’s degree candidates in Penn State’s college of agricultural sciences did a business analysis of the commission.

It found the agency does things backwards.

In manufacturing, the report said, businesses determine demand for a product, then build to meet it. That production varies over time as the market dictates.

“Typically, marketing and sales professionals discuss goals before production is scheduled, then manufacturing determines production amounts and executes the plans,” it reads.

The commission, by comparison, produces fish, decides where to put them, and only then, “on the back end,” tries to generate demand.

That should change, the report said. With revenues flattening and expenses rising, “lowering fish production appears to be a necessary step” to balance budgets, it reads.

“You have to ask, how many fish do you really need and how many can you afford?” added Judd Michael, a professor of ecosystem science and management who oversaw development of the analysis.

If production is cut, the business plan makes two recommendations.

The first is to concentrate stockings and then market those hot spots to “generate demand at select locations prior to stocking,” it reads.

The second is to consider how fish are used these days.

Angler behavior has changed, the report notes. More and more fishermen practice catch and release.

“It may be the case that the catch- and-release rates have increased sufficiently that the agency does not have to stock as many fish since anglers are effectively ‘stocking’ the streams with fish released after a catch. If this is true, then any agency reductions in trout stocking levels would be offset by anglers who are releasing fish for others to catch,” the report reads.

The analysis producing such ideas has value, Arway said.

“This shouldn’t fall on deaf ears,” he said.

Expense is the reason why.

Operating hatcheries costs the agency about $13 million a year, he said. That’s about one-quarter of the agency’s total budget.

Most of that money — upwards of $10 million — is gobbled up by trout production.

Still, no changes to hatcheries or stocking are imminent, Arway said.

“We’re not going to do too many new things until we get our financial situation stabilized,” he said.

But changes may not be all that far off either.

Steve Kralik, director of outreach, education and marketing for the commission, said the agency has reached out to Southwick Associates. It’s a research firm specializing in the outdoor industry.

At some point, Kralik said, the commission may ask that firm to help it determine — based on public input — how many fish its customers expect or demand.

It’s been a “long, long time” since the commission did any such analysis of its hatchery program, Arway said. So such research could be beneficial, he added.

Hussar, a business owner himself, agreed.

The commission has had hatcheries for most of its 151 years. He hopes it will for the next 151, he said.

But, he added, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look at operations.

“You’re certainly not going to make stuff if it’s not going to sell,” Hussar said. “So this is an analysis that should be done.”

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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Steering a Leaky Boat in the Consumer Value Chain

The stakes are high. And, becoming higher.

While Amazon dominates the news, the shifts in the consumer value chains are fundamental. The redefinition of shopping–an explosion in new formats and alternate means of delivery–is redefining the market. The pace is fierce. In the face of change, consumer product companies, once the brand captains and marketing darlings of the industry, are slow to rethink business fundamentals.

Tensions climaxed last week with Trian’s argument that Mr. Peltz should have a board seat at the iconic firm of Procter Gamble. PG, a 65.1B company is actively fighting against Trian getting a board seat despite the 3.5B investment for a 1.5% share. As a past PG employee, daily, I received digital ads to vote against Peltz’s seat on the board. The pressure is fierce. More than 400 people showed up for the shareholder meeting at PG’s Cincinnati headquarters, filling an auditorium and spilling into two overflow rooms. Retail investors own roughly 40% of the company, compared with an average of 12% at the SP 500. PG shares over the past decade have lagged behind competitors’ and the SP 500.

The fight at PG is not unique to Procter. It just has more fanfare. The issues are systemic and across the value chain. Companies are attempting to steer a leaky boat at the intersection of the “Amazon Effect”, the “3G Effect” and digital transformation. Growth has slowed in traditional retailing and consumer manufacturers were slow to aggressively embrace new business models. In most manufacturing companies, to counter attack, the back office groups of supply chain and operations are being asked to cut costs and divert the money into sales and marketing tactics. The goal is to drive growth. The problem is that the boat is not able to steer to better serve the market. It has lost its rudder. Consumers want goods that are fresh, local, and healthy. They have lost faith in big brands. The supply chain today is focused on global and efficient. Cutting costs in the back office to attempt to drive revenue through traditional marketing programs is not the answer.


Driving A Leaky Boat

To make the argument, let’s examine some of the trends at retail.

  •  German Retailers Redefine Formats for a Simpler Grocery Experience. Aldi and Lidl are evolving in the US as masters of store efficiency. While the traditional grocery store has over 20,000 items in more than 250 categories, these German retailers have 80-90% fewer items with ½ the categories. The impact is far fewer line extensions on the shelves. Simpler shopping. If this is the case, why have consumer products companies added 38% more items to  item masters over the course of the last five years? Most were brand extensions not successful product launch adding to costs and driving complexity.
  • New Services/Solutions. Albertson’s recently purchased Plated to try to bring cooking to the home. Families want healthy, value-based meals. Many don’t know how to cook. The company is attempting to redefine omni-channel meal service. One might ask, “Why is this not happening under the direction of McCormick or Conagra? Or General Mills?” Why are consumer products companies slow to bring new models to market?
  •  Decay/Distrust of Big Brands. The introduction of Honest and Brandless as successful start-ups is a megaphone for customer sentiment. The names, by definition, defy big brand power. In parallel, private label often termed retail house brands are growing in the basket. Private label is currently 18% in the United States. It is 45% in Switzerland. Big consumer brands are shrinking. The center store of a grocery store is moving online. Why are Unilever or PG not leading this effort to take their brands into eCommerce? Why did Unilever have to buy Dollar Shave Club versus invent it?
  • The Amazon Effect. As Amazon extends its tentacles, stretching into supply chain crevices, and redefining capabilities, many boards are waking-up to question tomorrow if they don’t act now. I would argue that PG should have acted faster. With brand power and brand insights, why were they so slow to move into eCommerce? Why were they not Amazon?

Big brands are out of step. Shoppers want local along with fresh and personalized products. They want locally sourced goods, convenience and product quality. Shoppers want smart labels to see country of origin. In the last decade, as consumer packaged goods companies drove global growth strategies, the focus was on supply chain efficiency and the delivery of a standardized products. Leaders of functional organizations within these companies see no reason to change. Most are getting their bonuses, reward systems are moving along and change is risky.

MA is not the answer. Mistakenly, consumer products companies  attempted to grow through acquisition. MA deals in the first quarter of 2015 rose by 14% and 25% year-over-year respectively making it the largest deal quarter since 2007. In Figures 1 and 2, the decay in business results speak for themselves.

Figure 1. Year-over-Year Shifts at the Intersection of Operating Margin and Inventory Turns in Consumer Goods Nondurable Companies

If you like the ocean and solitude, this land sale in Maine has lots for $20000

The real estate venture sounded promising.

More than a decade ago developers from outside Bar Harbor, Maine, subdivided a vast, oceanfront property in the fishing community of Steuben and started to sell lots.


Sales began in 2004, the town said, with the first buyer paying $343,000 for a little more than six acres. A few more lots sold, but then the recession hit. Subdivision sales came to a standstill. Over 13 years, just two homes were built.

“This was intended to be an upper-scale neighborhood and marketed like that. It just didn’t happen,” said Julie Ginn, the town clerk and tax collector in Steuben, a community of about 1,100 residents. “People here can’t afford waterfront property. We are not Bar Harbor or Mount Desert Island. We have the beauty of it but we don’t have the economy.”

Now 40 to 50 lots on the 600-acre site are going on sale Saturday at deep discounts in a liquidation event that has been heavily marketed to residents in Massachusetts and nearby states.

The advertisements include mailings and Facebook posts featuring a sunset view over a pristine shoreline. The sale is billed as a “one day only” opportunity offering lots with ocean access starting at $19,900, oceanfront tracts of up to 52 acres from $79,900, and a 5-acre, shoreline plot plus building materials for a 2,000-square-foot cottage for $119,900.

The catch? You’ve got to enjoy solitude.


“That’s the drawback of Steuben,” said Ginn. “We have no business to speak of. The closest Dunkin’ Donuts is 30 minutes away. Starbucks is even further away, and forget that because none of us know how to order at Starbucks.”

The fire sale prices are symptomatic, economists said, of Steuben’s location and a real estate market in northern Maine that hasn’t experienced the post-recession rebound seen in other parts of the state.

The largest nearby tourist attraction is Acadia National Park, which drew a record-high estimated 3.3 million visits last year, but Steuben has the misfortune of being located about an hour beyond the popular vacation spot. From Boston, it’s about a five-hour trip by car.

“It’s past the point where many tourists go,” said James Breece, an associate professor of economics at the University of Maine in Orono. “It’s not as desirable as Camden or Boothbay or Bar Harbor.”

Figures from the Maine Association of Realtors show home sales jumped in Maine by more than 6 percent between August 2016 and August 2017, but sales in Washington County, where Steuben is located, fell by nearly 4 percent.

“Talk to anyone in the real estate business — the market is gone,” said Kevin Barbee, one of the developers of the for-sale subdivision, called The Preserve at Dolly Head. “I’m sitting on a lot of lots.”

Barbee said he tried listing the property with local realtors for years before he enlisted help from two North Carolina companies that organize land liquidation sales.

Land records show the site isn’t in foreclosure, but Barbee said he wants to sell.

“I’m not in any kind of financial problems,” he said.

Art Secor, managing partner at LW Land, a Charlotte, N.C., firm helping with the sale, said he expects that all the lots will sell on Saturday because demand for ocean-side property is so high. The marketing effort, he said, has targeted people who live within four to five hours from Steuben by car and may want a retirement property or second home.

“There are people . . . who don’t want to spend $1 million on Bar Harbor, but they can afford a $200,000 lot 45 minutes away, where the land is really lovely,” said Secor. “We try to have a price point for all buyers. There’s going to be a lot in there for every economic status.”

Kevin Barbee

An aerial view shows the secluded, tree-lined area

But where will buyers get basic necessities or medical care? Secor pointed to Ellsworth, about 25 miles away, where there is a hospital, a Walmart Supercenter, and the Maine Coast Mall.

Steuben also has The Aerie Restaurant, which seats up to 72 guests for dinner following concerts at the Eagle Hill Institute, a scientific organization specializing in the natural history sciences. A violin and piano concert is scheduled for Saturday evening.

Crews have been preparing the subdivision for the sale by cleaning and installing a boat ramp and gate, Secor said. About half of the property will be set aside as conservation land and won’t be sold.

Despite the activity, some residents said they weren’t aware of the sale.

“It’s really remote even compared to the rest of Steuben,” said Steven Carter, a boat builder and owner of Maine’s Own Blue Bay Boat.

Carter, 56, said he moved to Steuben from Tremont on Mount Desert Island five years ago, building a home and boat shop on 1.5 acres he purchased for $8,500. His hometown, he said, had become too busy.

“It’s not the same place where I grew up,” Carter said. “I like to try to keep it as quiet as I can around me.”

Ginn, the town official, said she has high hopes for the sale.

“I’d love to see our tax base grow. I would love to see full-time residents come and put some kids in our school,” she said. “We here definitely want it to succeed.”

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.

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Miller Boat Line has been lifeline to lake for more than a century

PUT-IN-BAY — He calls himself “the highest paid dock boy.”

Billy Market’s tongue-in-cheek assessment of himself is much like the humor a lot of us use as icebreakers when we engage in conservation with people we’ve never met before. In this case, Mr. Market was about to launch into a telephone interview about his family’s iconic company, Miller Boat Line.

Yet in a way, Mr. Market’s quip also explains why Miller Boat Line has worked as a family operation for 112 years now. The down-to-earth personalities of him and his two siblings, sister Julene Market and brother Scott Market, have made them part of South Bass Island’s close-knit fabric for years, as has their lack of pretentiousness and ability to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.

“I call it kissing babies and shaking hands,” Mr. Market said of the role he has assumed as Miller Boat Line ambassador and all-around troubleshooter, explaining that Julene’s strength is in promotions and advertising, while Scott’s is as a handyman in charge of maintenance and upkeep of the vessels. “I’m sort of the front-of-company guy.”

Miller Boat Line didn’t start with the Markets. According to records, the company got its name from a Put-in-Bay man named William M. Miller, who in 1905 started a local ice business with another South Bass Island resident, Harry Jones. The ice was harvested from Put-in-Bay’s harbor during the winter, stored in an ice house that was insulated with sawdust, and then sold in the summertime to sailors aboard yachts moored in the bay or to island hotels and restaurants.

Mr. Miller, appropriately, had an 18-foot delivery boat called Iceman. He eventually expanded his service to six charter boats, including a 50-footer called Avon. He also had a water-taxi service.

His son, Lee Miller, skippered the Avon on its 3-mile runs between South Bass Island and Catawba Point. To serve as a ferry, the Avon would be attached to a scow. That allowed it to carry up to eight cars at a time, according to the company’s website.

More boats and services were added by the company, known as Miller Boat Livery during its early years. Because regular air service didn’t begin until 1929, the Millers held the contract for mail service between South Bass and the mainland for years.

Those early boats were wooden and were outfitted with metal sheathing nailed on to help the vessels withstand jagged ice. But there were no guarantees those strips of metal would be enough to help the wooden boats withstand the elements.

“It was commonplace for a paying passenger to have to help shove and maneuver the boats across the ice,” according to the company’s website.

By the mid-1940s, Miller Boat Livery purchased the Catawba Dock Company stock of boats. Lee Miller took control of the company in 1945 and had the all-steel automobile-passenger ferry, South Shore, built by Stadium Boat Works of Cleveland. The 65-foot enclosed vessel could carry up to 12 cars. Soon, more vessels followed, and Miller Boat Line became the main water connection between Catawba Point and the Lake Erie islands.

The company might have stayed in the Miller family longer if it hadn’t been for the accidental drowning of Lee and Mary Miller’s son, Bill Miller, at age 28 in 1959. 

In 1971, Bill Market, father of the three Market siblings who own the company today, was appointed by Lee Miller as manager. Mr. Market, a fourth-generation islander, had worked for the Millers as a purser and deckhand since 1954. He captained the vessel William M. Miller. When Lee Miller died in 1973, his widow, Mary Miller, asked Mr. Market to take over all of the company’s day-to-day operations.

In 1978, Bill Market and his wife, MaryAnn Market, also a native islander, purchased the boat line from Mary Miller. The Market family has owned and operated the business since then.

A more in-depth look at the company’s history can be found at bit.ly/2yAZ8M1.

The three siblings who own Miller Boat Line today inherited the company from their parents. Their father died in 2006, and their mother died in 2010.

They lavishly praise their parents for instilling in them a solid work ethic.

“Pride and determination have been hard wired into us by our parents,” Julene Market said. “It’s the way we were brought up.”

The Markets said on their website they have continued to use the Miller name as “a salute to the Miller family, our island heritage, and goodwill the company has cultivated over the past century.”

Research shows that only 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation, only 12 percent will survive into the third generation, and a mere 3 percent operate at the fourth generation and beyond, according to JSA Advising of Edina, Minn., in making its point that fourth-generation family-owned businesses are “very rare.”

In addition to lessons passed on by their parents, the three Markets work well together because they communiate well and understand each other’s roles, Billy Market said.

“We respect each other’s areas of expertise. I’m not going to tell Julene what billboards and social media should look like. We all know we’re fairly good and competent in our own areas. We don’t step on each other’s toes and micro-manage,” he said.

They’ve also been known to help out the Coast Guard in a moment’s notice if it needs assistance on a rescue mission, and they are among Lake Erie’s fearless ambassadors.

Their biggest fans include longtime South Bass resident Dave Fredericks, 73, whose wife grew up on the island.

“They are one of the most accommodating and benevolent families on the island,” Mr. Fredericks said. “They are very service-minded. It’s not the average business smile. It’s very social and heartfelt.”

Although the Jet Express also provides passenger ferry service, the majority of freight hauled by large trucks is ferried over by Miller Boat Line, Mr. Fredericks said.

“They couldn’t be more helpful to the island and the community,” he said of the Market family, beginning with their parents. “That whole family has been that way. There couldn’t be a more wholesome family. They bend over backwards for the island community.”

Although western Lake Erie’s chronic algae doesn’t appear to be slowing down passenger sales, Julene Market is a strong advocate for a cleaner lake and said she supports an impairment declaration, explaining it could “help gain the much-needed attention and funding that is so badly needed from the federal government.”

“The alarms have been sounded. We absolutely have to have the funding and the backing of legislators [to combat algae],” she said.

Dan Savage, director of the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society director, described Ms. Market in 2014 as “very much an ambassador for the islands.”

“She is sort of remarkable, very much like her mother was in that she has this deep love for the island and everything about this place,” he said in a 2014 intervew. “She’s a tireless promoter of the lake and the islands, and there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm that goes into whatever she is involved with.”

The Rev. Mary L. Staley of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Put-in-Bay said the Markets are more generous than people may realize, from their support of athletics to sizeable donations to the local food pantry.

“They’re just wonderful people who’ve been good to this island,” Reverend Staley said. “They do stuff they don’t want credit for sometimes. Stuff just happens. We’re grateful.” 

The Markets have several children in their teens and early 20s, which allows for the possibility of Miller Boat Line staying in their family’s hands when Julene, 61, Billy, 56, and Scott, 54, get too old to keep running it. 

Three of their children are already working for the company.

“We can already see the next generation getting ready,” Billy Market said.

The company has four vessels in operation now and is having a fifth built to begin operations in 2019, he said.

“There is a huge amount of satisfaction because we’re sort of the lifeline to the islands,” Billy Market said. “Anything that is consumed we haul. There are a lot of people who count on us to get stuff to them.”

All three Miller Boat Line owners grew up on and are raising their families on South Bass Island. They are among the island’s 550 year-round residents.

“It definitely has so many advantages,” Billy Market said, adding that stocking up on food — especially during the coldest time of the year when the ferries aren’t operating from early January to mid-March — becomes almost second-nature to island residents. “I think any island is an attraction in itself, whether it be in Lake Erie or the Caribbean, or Alaska.”

Miller Boat Line employs 130 people during its peak summer season. Many have been with the company for years.

“Everybody that works for us is part of the family,” Billy Market said.

Contact Tom Henry at thenry@theblade.com, 419-724-6079, or via Twitter @ecowriterohio.

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