|Gallatin Marina offers ‘good life’|
|Friday, May 18, 2012|
By Randy Cline
“Life is good today.” That pretty well sums it up for Gallatin Marina co-owner Buddy Wilkins, who isn’t just selling fuel and providing boat slips at the marina, he’s offering a lifestyle.
“There’s skydiving, airplane flying, gun shooting, hunting, fishing but there is nothing like getting on a boat and idling out of a marina and spending the afternoon watching the sunset with your family or even by yourself,” Wilkins said. “It’s an experience like you will have none other anyplace else I know of. That’s what it means to me personally and I’m hoping I can pass that along to all my customers and people I meet in life.
“It’s rewarding to see people have a good time and enjoy themselves. We just try to manage things to make sure that nothing gets out of hand.”
Wilkins is the former owner of Anchor High Marina in Hendersonville. He and business partner, Randy Lowe, purchased Gallatin Marina from the former owners, Mike and Donna Pace in May 2010.
“The opportunity came up to purchase this Mariana,” Wilkins said. “It took a couple of years to get everything worked out and we were able to finalize the sale.
“Randy and I developed a business plan to point the marina in a different direction and, at this point in time, we’ve spent two years doing just that. We are developing four or five new profit centers that make the marina more valuable. It’s nothing extraordinary, we are not rocket scientists, and it’s just what you need to do in business.”
One of those new ‘profit centers’ is dry storage for boats available in either of two storage units nearing completion. Each unit will hold 60 boat with one accommodating vessels up to 25 foot and the other holding vessels up to 35 foot in length.
“We also sell the best fuel on the whole lake,” Wilkins said. “That’s the truth because we have the most options. All of our gasoline products are ethanol free, which is important in the boat business, plus it has an additive called Valvtech that does some other good things for your motor. Plus we have diesel fuel.
“Whatever anybody wants, I can get it handled. After 30 something years in the business, I know people that can get most anything done.”
While the primary business is to rent slips for boat owners to keep their boats, the marina provides other services which includes providing access to fresh water and electricity, wash, wax, detail, clean, motor tune ups, oil changes, installing electronics and getting boats ready for winter and summer activities.
Wilkins, 65, was born and raised in Nashville and fostered his love of boating while serving in the Navy from 1968-70. He’s been in the boating industry since the late 70s, getting involved by providing maintenance on boats, painting boat bottoms, waxing, cleaning and learning what boats are all about at Anchor High, a business he bought in 2000.
Moving to Gallatin was a smooth transition for Wilkins. “Working with local lenders, the city leaders, the code department, has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “I can’t say enough about them.”
Another part of the ‘good life’ is found in a dozen trailer-homes which line the marina property giving a few folks a peaceful lake-view home. “I love it out here, it’s a great place to live,” said resident Bill “Bubba” Adamson who has lived at the marina for 17 years.
Wilkins says there’s nothing like the water. “It brings together people of different walks, someone who owns a $5,000 boat and someone who owns a $500,000 boat,” he said. “It makes unique place for all of them, lets them find new friends; an opportunity to find out things you may not otherwise have a chance to, we all learn from others. There’s nothing like it that I know of.”