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What started as a hobby became a passion, a way of life. For Glen and Karen Smith, owners of Route 113 Boat Sales and Service in Selbyville, Del., being on the water also became the entrepreneurial itch they needed to scratch.
“We were living in Severn, Md. and working in the corporate IT world,” explains Glen. “We have always loved boating and visiting the area. In 2003, we decided to make the move to Selbyville full time and turn our passion into a business.”
Glen and Karen have grown Route 113 Boat Sales into a true family business. Their son Zak is now the general manager, and the entire family has become a fixture in the community. “Where we live and work is also where we boat,” said Glen. “We’re proud to call Selbyville and the coastal Delmarva community home, and we’re equally proud to serve as an employer in the region.”
Their role as an employer was put to the test by the outbreak of COVID-19, but they were also prepared to handle the challenge. “We have 10 employees, and the first thing we did was tell them ‘we don’t know what the future holds for sales, but we do know this – your job is safe,’” said Glen. “We’ve been diligent over the years to handle the ups and downs of the economy. But we also didn’t know if our next boat sale would be in two weeks or two months. When Warren Buffet is selling into the market, you know things are different.”
The Smiths had previously secured a floor plan line of credit with WSFS and were able to focus on adapting to social distancing while maintaining the high level of customer service they are known for in the regional boating community. Zak took to YouTube to create a series of instructional videos for every boat they sold, detailing how to operate the boats for new and existing customers.
“Normally, we’d be on board with a customer showing them every switch, breaker and accessory on their new boat,” said Glen. “Our customer service is the fabric of our business, and Zak got very creative to keep our level of service on point.”
Meanwhile, a normally busy season has unexpectedly gotten even busier. “People are considering new ways to spend their time in this era of social distancing,” said Glen, “and boating is a great way to get out of the house, spend time with your family and decompress while following health and safety guidelines.”
With booming sales and a strong financial foundation, the Smiths’ next focus is on building their relationship with WSFS. “We’re very happy with our relationship with WSFS and are looking forward to working with them in the years to come as we continue to grow our business.”
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