The Boat Shop Celebrates 50 Years in Business

Started in 1968; Only Two Owners Since Then
By MARIA SCANDALE | Mar 28, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill Co-owners, and husband and wife, Dave and Lynn Schuda.

When a business has been a successful part of the community and waterfront culture for 50 years, that’s cause to celebrate. The Boat Shop, established in 1968, will proudly share the milestone with customers at its annual Open House on Saturday, April 7.

The Open House has been a rite of spring for 18 years at the store at 756 East Bay Ave., Manahawkin.

This year, after a long winter, folks are really looking forward to getting back out on the water. A walk around the well-stocked shop revs up the anticipation.

The April 7 Open House is a good day to start, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., when prize drawings, giveaways one-day-only sales and free refreshments are offered, and sales reps will be on hand to answer any questions about new and established products.

The store, much deeper inside than exterior frontage shows, is full of organized shelves and departments covering a vast array of discount marine supplies and electronics.

A print and an online catalog (being updated) outlines even more. The wish list reaches around 100,000 items.

“We have the store catalog that we give out. That is a highlighted version of what we either have in the store or what we can get through our distributors,” said Dave Schuda, store co-owner with his wife, Lynn.

“From our contacts, I don’t have an exact number, but I expect that it could be anywhere between 75,000 to 125,000 different unique items that are dedicated to the marine industry that we can get. Most of those, if it’s ordered sometime during the week, are next-day delivery.”

The Boat Shop is like a toy shop for enthusiasts. The store operators (Lynn’s mom Carol is also on duty at the front counter) will gladly steer customers in the right direction, but signs overhead point out the course as well.

“We have an area fully dedicated to paint, to gas additives to detailing, to caulks and filler, to electronics,” Dave Schuda began listing.

The website, theboatshoponline.com, breaks it down into other categories besides those above: fuel tanks and hoses, engine repair and maintenance parts, life vests and safety equipment, watersports (in a new room with space to display towable inflatables), general boating accessories, and much more. There are marine grills for those anchored picnics. There is a display of Sperry Topsiders for when bare feet aren’t the answer.

The Schudas have owned the shop since Jan. 1, 2000. Lynn’s history with the store goes back to her high school days – she worked in the Manahawkin store for the original owners, Tom and Donna Shack of Brigantine.

“When they wanted to retire, they came to us and offered that we could buy the business. It took about 24 hours for my wife and I to discuss it amongst ourselves and we did say yes,” Dave noted.

“There have only been two owners, but she (Lynn) worked for them for so long, it made the transition seamless for us taking it over,” Dave recalled. “As young as she is, she has 30 years of experience in the marine world, which is very rare, especially for women. I joke around saying that I’m here to lift heavy boxes,” he exaggerated. “She knows 10 times what I know.”

Lynn Schuda will say this: She is proud of her part in the commercial landmark, or should we say watermark.

Orders come in from all over the country, but the local population and summer folks are the anchor.

“I grew up in this area, born and raised in Beach Haven West, and I’m very proud to own a local business that serves the community, and one that is celebrating its 50th year.”

What has stayed the same is the foundation of how the store is run that came from the Shacks, the current owning couple agreed.

Said Dave, “Our prices have always been competitive. We have dealt with a lot of the same distributors in some cases for over 30 years, and that relationship helps us do that. We’re always going to try our best, no matter what the situation is. We’re always going to be customer driven; that’s always the foundation.”

The Boat Shop has been in the same location for 42 years, since 1975. The Shacks had boat shops in Brigantine and Point Pleasant in addition to the Manahawkin store.

What is different from the old days? Electronics, for one notable. They carry Garmin GPS and fish finders but can order other brands. They stock Standard Horizon vhf radios and various brands of marine AM-FM radios.

“We sell everything that the typical boater would need,” Dave Schuda summed up.

The phone number is 609-597-1271. In addition to the website, find them on Facebook.

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

 

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