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Freedom Boat Club sees great potential for expansion in Kentucky

Freedom Boat Club
November 14, 2013
Filed under News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – VENICE, Fla.  — The Freedom Boat Club, the nation’s oldest and largest boating club, has been in an aggressive expansion mode for the past two years. Corporate managers believe that pace is only likely to increase as the various benefits of boating clubs become more widely known.

And near the top of the priority list for expansion: the abundant lakes and rivers in Kentucky.

“Kentucky is virtually a wide-open market for us,” said Lisa Almeida of the Freedom Boat Club (FBC). “There are gorgeous waterways and first-rate marinas to support our operations. There is great potential for us all over the state. We will be looking for the best-suited marinas and franchise owners to help us make a big splash in Kentucky.”

Currently, FBC doesn’t have a location in the Blue Grass state. But FBC officials are eager to find the right partners to expand into the state, such as the Jamestown Marina and Resort on Lake Cumberland.

“We are very interested in exploring a partnership with the Freedom Boat Club,” said Gregg Kenney, managing partner of Marinas International, which operates the Jamestown Marina. “They have established an impressive track record of providing great service and value for their members. No boat club in the country does it better.”

Other priority locations for FBC franchises in the state include Lake Green Turtle Bay and Grand Rivers Kentucky.

“Finding the right people as franchise owners is critical to our growth,” said CEO John Giglio. “We have developed a powerful brand with high marks for customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our success is a direct result of having franchise owners who share our values and vision and are committed to serving our members.”

FBC, based in Venice, Fla., has added 17 franchises since the start of 2012, for a total of 74.  Almeida, the director of franchise development, believes the pace of growth is poised to increase.

“All the market research in the marine industry tells us we are positioned perfectly to provide what people are looking for,” Almeida said. “We are selling a lifestyle and experience, not boats. We provide a hassle-free boating experience at an affordable cost.”

Almeida says the best qualities for franchise owners are: People who enjoy boating; leaders with good management skills who are able to follow a successful system; people with good networking and relationship-building skills; leaders who know how to manage a sales-driven business, and people with in-depth knowledge of the local market.

FBC, founded in 1989, also stresses the importance of supporting the overall marine industry, as well as local organizations in each community.

Giglio has made it a priority to build strong relationships and trust with the major players in the marine industry.

“In the past, some marina operators and boat dealers might have been wary about the presence of boat clubs,” Giglio said. “But we are committed to growing boating as an industry and getting more people enthused about being on the water. And that is good for everyone.”

In recent months, Giglio has developed working relationships with various industry leaders, including the Marina Recreation Association, the International Marina & Boatyard Conference, Association of Marine Industries and several marine trade associations.

FBC has also made it a regular practice to donate boats for special events, such as “Take the Helm” training and National Marina Day. And FBC has been heavily involved with Discover Boating, teaming up to support the Grow Boating initiative.

“I believe we have proven to marina owners and boat dealers that we are good for business,” Giglio said.

It is hard to argue with the numbers.

Since 2012, FBC purchased more than 270 boats, either new or slightly used.

“The numbers are all moving in the right direction,” Giglio said. “And we are working hard to make sure it continues.”

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