50 Years Young

August 2006 News PDB Staff Report

Robertson's Marine believes in the boating lifestyle and feels that no other family activity offers the same level of outdoor fun, excitement and all around pleasure. What makes them an expert on family activities? Well for starters, they've been Utah's leading family-owned boat dealer since 1956. And as boaters themselves, they've been helping people for many years become as passionate about boating as they are.

"I love making people's dreams come true," says Sales Manager Casey Robertson. "It's a fulfilling career and I love to see the kid's faces when their parents come to pick up their new boat."

Robertson's Marine sells a variety of boats, including those manufactured by Crestliner. The boat dealer started selling Crestliner boats in 1994 and its all-welded construction and innovative designs have proved to be successful for the Utah dealer.

"We've always loved Crestliner boats," explains Casey. "They've made some huge improvements lately and of its top dealers, we're the only one in the west."

Boating in Utah is a little different compared to other states. The majority of lakes are not that close to the Salt Lake City dealership and you're limited in the number of good boating months in a season. But this is a challenge that the family has been facing for years and so far it hasn't appeared to be that big of an obstacle for them.

The backbone for the business, as far as boats are concerned, is its line of Glastron fiberglass deck boats. Since 1959, Glastron has had a lot to do with the Robertson's success.

"They build a good-priced, good-quality, well-riding performance boat," boasts Casey. "Glastrons get on plane quicker and these boats have done well in our family boating market. We boat on high elevation lakes so you have to have a boat that performs well. So for the money, I'd rather have a boat the can perform verses one that has a ten-disc CD changer and iPod station. It just makes sense to me."

Since 1999, Robertson's Marine has earned Glastron's top customer service award for its outstanding commitment to customer service. But the family's extra effort to earn business goes beyond its Glastron line. Robertson's has succeeded 50 years by taking care of all of its customers.

On example is its "Spring Fling De-Winterization Day on the Water" that Robertson's hosts every year. Usually held around the second or third week in April, the dealer invites its customers who have winterized their boats with them to come out to a nearby lake for the first ride of the season. The staff de-winterizes each boat near the launch ramp and then a mechanic will go out on the boat with them for the first cruise of the year.

"For whatever reason, it seems like the first cruise of the year always comes with some type of a glitch," says Casey. "With our mechanics on board we can change that blower fuse, get that stereo working again or whatever problem there happens to be."

It's one big party for all of its customers and its something that everyone looks forward to. Over 150 boats showed up this past spring for the annual event that also included Don, the founder and owner of Robertson's, in an apron while cooking up some lunch on the grill for everyone. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also comes out and offers a free boat inspection for everyone to ensure a safe season of boating. This dedication is what separates this dealership from others.  

The spring fling event is also a good opportunity for those who purchased boats from Robertson's Marine during the winter. A member from the dealership will go out with the new boat owner for the maiden voyage if they have questions. This is also a good time for the dealer to show them, especially if they've never owned a boat before, some tips to help make their first experience a good one.

"We're not the type of dealer that says, `here's your keys, have fun,'" says Casey. "We're very involved with our customers."     

What has been the most impressive is the founder's commitment to Robertson's Marine that evolved from a feed business for farmers. It stared when Don and his father made their first boat, a wooden design with a Briggs and Stratton engine on the back. In 1956 people were starting to focus their attention on family recreation and so Don started selling boats and engines out of the family feed store. Then once he took notice of the fiberglass designs being built from Glastron and became a dealer, it was open water from there.

Today it's not uncommon to see Don on a lift unloading boats off a trailer or to see him working behind the parts counter.

"He's more into the whole blood, sweat and tears part of the business," says his son Casey with a smile. "You don't see many company owners still involved like he is today."  

No one knows for certain what the next 50 years will bring for Robertson's Marine, but you can bet that it will still be finding success in the west. The business hopes to continue to expand and keep getting bigger, while keeping that same family touch that has made this dealership so successful. As boating becomes more and more popular in Utah and other regions out west, you can be sure that Robertson's Marine will be the driving force behind it.

"Boating in Utah is fun and I just want it to grow," says Casey. "Our business will always be about making people's dreams come true."

For more information on Robertson's Marine call 801-534-1111 or visit www.robertson-marine.com.

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