For decades, Ted Novicki has poured his heart and soul into the boating industry and his efforts have paid off as he continues to run one of the most successful boat dealerships in his region. Ted's Aqua Marine in Indianapolis, Ind., sits on 13 acres and has been a beacon to both new and used boat buyers since Ted first opened the doors in 1977. Nearly 40 years later Ted is still involved with the day-to-day workings of the dealership and continues to serve as the general manager, as well as the owner. There's no sign of him slowing down; however, it's clear that now it's his time to enjoy the advantages of boating and start getting out of the office a little more.
Last August Ted and his companion Barb Denoon organized an impromptu trip with their friends Bill and Teresa Kleinschmidt. Lake Monroe is a short drive from the dealership and by Friday they were all in need of some fresh air, sunshine and a little time on the water. Those who come through the doors of Ted's Aqua Marine often mistake the showroom for a mini boat show. In fact, you may have been to some local boat shows that weren't nearly as big. When it comes to shopping for a new or used boat, it's hard to beat the selection. But with all the boats available for this quick trip to the lake, it was the Avalon LS 1900 with a Mercury 60 EFI BigFoot that Ted selected.
Ted's Aqua Marine has been an Avalon dealer for just over two years now and it was the manufacturer's wide range of pontoons offered that originally attracted him to the Michigan-based builder.
"With Avalon you can have a high-end luxury model all the way to a value-driven one and everything else in between," says Ted. "I went to the factory and I've never found a boat that is built better. Even its smallest boats are over-built. Plus the facility is one of the nicest I've ever seen and I've been through a lot of plants."
As the two couples motored away from the dock with sunshine on their faces and the water as smooth as glass, they knew their day was off to a great start. Being out on the water with friends gives Ted a chance to reflect on the decisions he's made that have led him to this point in his life.
Ted got his start in the marine industry 50 years ago at a local dealership as a mechanic in 1963. He spent 11 years there as a Mercury Master Mechanic and also as the service manager so he considers himself a technician by trade. It's this background that has helped him realize the importance of being a full-service marine business.
"You have to be able to back up your sale with service, especially when times in the industry get tough," explains Ted. "It's important to always take care of your customers and serving our customers continues to be our specialty."
An opportunity to be a general manager for a different local dealer in 1974 became available and Ted took it as a chance to learn the sales end of the business. After being successful in helping that dealer grow, his desire to have a dealership of his own led him to starting Ted's Aqua Marine in 1977.
"We feel the continuing growth and success at our dealership is based on our deep roots in customer service and customer satisfaction," says Ted. "We have a huge variety of new and used boats including pontoons as well as aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats."
Ted's Aqua Marina carries several different pontoon brands, but it's the Avalon line where he really dominates the 14- to 20-foot market in his region.
"We've had amazing success with Avalons in the under 20-foot market," says Ted. "Avalon also offers a narrower pontoon that is ideal for the electric lakes in our area and with this builder it's very easy to transition from a price-point boat to a high-dollar one if you want."
The Right Match
After his wife of 48 years passed away, Ted met Barb, a widow who had been married to her spouse for 50 years. Together they found comfort as well as a common bond and have been together now for nearly two years. But the busy boating season doesn't always give them the time they need to enjoy life away from the dealership.
"I own street rods, motorcycles and motor homes so my hobbies aren't limited to just boats, but I don't have time for any of them," jokes Ted. "But when I can, I like taking out a performance pontoon because I can have the power, plus be able to take more people with me."
Avalon also manufactures performance pontoons and Ted has seen those same high construction standards found across the board from its entry-level models on up.
"Avalon is not interested in how many boats they can build like some manufacturers, but rather how well they can build the boats," says Ted. "Making each pontoon the strongest and durable is most important to them."
The day is spent cruising across the southern Indiana lake and it's time well spent and well deserved. Ted and Barb might not be able to spend all their time out on the water, but it's clear they're prepared to make the most out of what time they can. After all, it's their time to enjoy life.
Ted's Aqua Marine- 800-238-3418