2013 Best Industry Advocate: Port Harbor Marine
December 1, 2013
Filed under Features
Port Harbor Marine
South Portland, Maine
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger proponent of boating, the boating lifestyle or the boating industry than Port Harbor Marine.
From working hard in industry associations to spreading the word about boating to consumers across the state of Maine, the team at Port Harbor has continually showed its willingness to further the entire industry.
Company President Rob Soucy is an active member of several industry and business groups and associations, both local and national. Port Harbor has been one of the biggest advocates of raising the professionalism of the industry through 20 Groups, Five Star Marine Dealer Certification, Spader 20 Groups, the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo and the Boating Industry Top 100.
Soucy is a member of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) Board of Directors and chairman of the convention committee that plans MDCE, the largest dealer education event in the marine industry.
It’s a tradition that goes back to Soucy’s father, Bob, Port Harbor’s founder. He owned and operated Port Harbor for more than 40 years before Rob and his brothers Mike and Marc purchased the business from their parents in 2007. Bob Soucy served as MRAA chairman and as a member of the association’s board of directors for several years.
Beyond service, Port Harbor also works tirelessly as an ambassador of the boating lifestyle. Each year, Port Harbor hosts more than 25 events in and around its five Maine locations. While the ultimate goal of these events is to promote the Port Harbor brand, build customer loyalty and increase sales, they are also about introducing new customers to boating and showing off the benefits of the sport. Port Harbor also supports many community service and charitable efforts.
“We host more boating events than any other dealer in New England but the best community related event and the one we are most proud of is our Veterans Appreciation Fishing Tournament,” Soucy said. “Last year we organized this event that took over 100 U.S. veterans out on the water for a day of fishing and then treated them to a cookout and fish fry when they returned. The event was huge and paid dividends not only in the Maine community, but in our store as well.”
Each Port Harbor location stuffs a boat full of food during Thanksgiving for the Good Shepherd Food Bank, then delivers a literal boatload of toys at Christmas time for the Toys for Tots program.
Other programs aimed at children help to introduce boating to the next generation.
“Our Kids Safe Boating program is a free program run during National Marina Day for kids age 10 and older,” Soucy said. “Kids get one hour of classroom instruction and then another hour on the water operating a boat. Every kid departs with several handouts, a DVD and boating safety manual, and a free life jacket.”
Another event is the “Take a Kid Fishing” program that is designed to introduce kids to fishing and Port Harbor has donated fishing rods to kids for the last several years.
Port Harbor’s second biggest community-related event was the Casco Bay Classic fishing tournament, “Fishing for the Cure,” which raised more than $75,000 to support several charities and combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis.
Port Harbor also participates in and runs several other events – including free boating classes, veteran events and more – that benefit the local community and promote the boating lifestyle.
“We make coming to work fun for our crewmembers that in turn project that fun atmosphere to our customers,” Soucy said. “Sure, it is still work, but we never lose sight that we are in the boating business.”