BEAUFORT — The owners of the Boathouse at Front Street Village announced Aug. 1 they have sold the business to Southern Marinas, a Florida-based marina owner and operator.
Local developers Wendi and Bucky Oliver first opened the Boathouse at 2400 Lennoxville Road in 2008. It has easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway and includes a marina, onsite service department, dry stack boat storage and a wine and gift shop known as the Chandlery.
Mr. Oliver, who owns several other businesses and properties in the county, including the recently opened Beaufort Hotel and 34° North restaurant, said he and his wife sold the Boathouse because they felt it was time to move on to other endeavors. In addition to the hotel and restaurant, the Olivers own about 24 acres on Lennoxville Road, as well the old Beaufort Elementary School property and other parcels in town.
“I’m 72 years old now, and I always say you should focus on having an exit plan,” Mr. Oliver said recently. “…We have plenty on our plate to keep us busy.”
Mr. Oliver said he felt Southern Marinas was a good choice to take over the business because its employees have extensive experience in the industry. He added he does not expect any layoffs of existing Boathouse employees; in fact, he said he hopes the new ownership will improve operations at the business.
“It’s a plus for the employees (of the Boathouse) because of the depth of experience the company has, experience a small business like us doesn’t have,” he said. “…We felt that Southern Marina is a like-minded business, they are service and community oriented, so we feel good about them taking over. I think it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
In a release, Southern Marinas principal and Chief Investment Officer Andrew Gendron said the purchase is a good opportunity for the company to expand its selection of properties.
“We are fortunate to acquire such a wonderful asset in a great boating market,” he said in an Aug. 5 release announcing the acquisition. “The Boathouse is the perfect addition to our growing portfolio of marinas that will extend our footprint into the North Carolina market.”
Sales of wine and beer at the Chandlery are temporarily halted while the new owners secure a license, as required by North Carolina law, but Mr. Oliver said otherwise, the Boathouse is running the same as always.
In the meantime, the Chandlery will continue to offer sandwiches, soft drinks, snacks, gifts and apparel to visitors.
To Mr. Oliver, the fact that a national company purchased the Boathouse signals investors consider Beaufort and Carteret County a good place to do business. He said Southern Marinas approached him about purchasing the property rather than the other way around.
“This is a really strong vote of confidence in the economic viability of the county and region,” he said. “It’s a success for economic development in Carteret County.”
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.