White Lake Marine shares history
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White Lake Marine was the spotlighted business on Tuesday at the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Carl deAndrade and his son, David, addressed those gathered at Goldston’s Restaurant discussing the business’ history and new innovations.
White Lake Marine is located on US 701 South and at one time owned both the current location and what is now White Lake Marina, across the street. The deAndrade family purchased the business in 1985 from David Cross and it has steadily grown over the years.
“A resounding theme that has come up the past few years of my life that goes all the way back to 1985 comes from the Bible. Romans 8:28 Know all things work together for those who love God and have been called according to His purpose for them,” said David deAndrade.
He said at the time they bought the marina, there were almost a dozen Correct Craft dealers. today know by their most poplar boat the Nautique. Today only two dealerships in the state, White Lake Marine and another dealer located in Charlotte. He said they began doing boat shows and marketing outside the area to grow the business. Became one fo the top ten boat dealers in the country.
David deAndrade said leading up to the recent recession, they were selling about 50 boats per year. Boat sales and service became the main focus and they built a new showroom. David deAndrade said the economy took a turn for the worse and the business slowed.
He said during the economic downtown Nautique began closing some of its distribution centers and pulling everything back to their main location in Orlando, Fla. deAndrade said when the company did this, they were running out of space. He said the company contacted White Lake Marine and wanted to know if they wanted some of the excess inventory. White Lake Marine began to purchase items Nautique didn’t want, accumulating parts, and at the same time launching the new website. He said the new website helped to grow the business and White Lake Marine has doubled their sales in four years.
“We went from me and Dad filling orders in between doing others to having five full-time staff members that are just dedicated to the website,” said deAndrade. He said about half of the business now supports the eCommerce site.
This year alone they have received more than 17,000 email messages from customers. Those emails have resulted in 13,000 conversations, said deAndrade. He said the business is also receiving more than 300 calls per day during peak times in the summer.
He said they have launched a new website this year. deAndrade said they have focused on making the website more friendly and easier to use.
Also, Carl deAndrade spoke to the Chamber members briefly regarding the upcoming Mountains to Sea Trail In A Day event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Mountains to the Sea Trail. Segment 13B of the trail passes through Bladen County and folks are encouraged to sign up to walk a section of the trail. To learn more about the Mountains to the Sea Trail In A Day event contact Carl deAndrade via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text at 910-876-1312. The goal is to have 1 to 5 people on each leg.