The Triton

News

New owner revamps, reintroduces Lewis Marine

ADVERTISEMENT

By Lucy Chabot Reed

Fort Lauderdale-based Lewis Marine Supply, a 62-year-old chandlery, hosted an open house on Thursday to welcome back old clients. With new owners and operators since early March, the store and warehouse now has a new look and feel.

“This is just a visual representation of what we’re doing, upgrading and updating the business, the logo, the shop,” said Chelsea Beyer, new president of Lewis Marine. “We have been spending the past weeks getting back in stock and back in business to get our existing customer base back.”

Lewis’ core customer base of builders and repair service providers remains a key focus, but she was quick to add that the company is not strictly wholesale. To that end, the entry/lobby area has been reconfigured to offer quick access for will-call clients, some retail items for impulse buys, and two counters of computers and chairs for searching the company’s catalog and ordering parts.

While parts are picked from the restocked warehouse, customers can wait in the new lounge, complete with television, coffee machine and comfortable seating.

And there is a new client she hopes to attract — boat captains — who are not a retail consumer but not wholesale either. Lewis Marine was acquired by private equity investor Brooks Smith, a Fort Lauderdale resident and avid tournament angler who owns a fleet of sportfishing boats and employs several professional captains and crew.

“There’s a need in that marketplace of fishing boats and mid-size yachts,” Beyer said. “They’re not getting the same service as the big boats get with the established provisioning companies in town.”

It was important for Beyer to dispel the rumor that Lewis Marine Supply had fallen into bankruptcy.

“The business itself was never in bankruptcy,” she said. “There were two businesses here: Lewis Marine Supply and the entity that held the land.” The latter was in bankruptcy for about a month, she said. Smith now owns both Lewis Marine and the property.

All the satellite Lewis Marine stores were closed prior to the ownership change, but six company trucks run 16 routes around South Florida to deliver parts. Two more trucks are on order, Beyer said, and they are considering adding more.

“This is it — Fort Lauderdale — this is where it all is for the boating industry,” she said.

Improvements are continuing for Beyer and her staff of 35 employees, who have an average tenure of more than 20 years with Lewis Marine.

“There’s a lot of legacy stuff that hasn’t been updated in a long time,” she said, noting computer hardware, software and warehouse management systems are all planned. And the company’s website will eventually handle a sophisticated e-commerce platform, ideally in time for the fall season.

Most recently from Minnesota, Beyer is used to being in management and leadership positions in industries that don’t typically have many women at the top. She had top sales and management positions with fuel company ConocoPhillips and specialty chemicals companies Ecolab and Zep.

“This is a great opportunity to introduce a different look to the industry,” she said. “I get to learn so much of history by bringing in a different perspective.”

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.

Related Posts...
Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon People always ask me what Read more...
The Paris and Tokyo MoUs on port state control will Read more...
By Dorie Cox Capts. Brian and Sue Mitchell looked up Read more...
Rules of the Road: by Capt. Jake DesVergers Sovereign and Read more...

Share This Post

About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Lucy Chabot Reed →

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Editor’s Picks

Crew Compass: Working for liveaboards a seismic shift from charter life

Crew Compass: Working for liveaboards a seismic shift from charter life

Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon People always ask me what it’s like to work on yachts? You must have some good stories, they say. …

Port state CIC inspections this fall to focus on emergency systems

Port state CIC inspections this fall to focus on emergency systems

The Paris and Tokyo MoUs on port state control will conduct a Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on vessel emergency systems and …

Yacht Moatize hits dock in Cairns

Yacht Moatize hits dock in Cairns

By Dorie Cox Capts. Brian and Sue Mitchell looked up from their dinner at a marina restaurant in Cairns in Queensland, Australia, to …

Deeper water to allow for larger yachts at Fort Lauderdale marina

Deeper water to allow for larger yachts at Fort Lauderdale marina

Photos and story by Dorie Cox Scoop by scoop, an excavator on a floating barge dug from the Intracoastal Waterway bed at Sunrise Harbor …