With Caravelle Power Boats, Interceptor Performance Boats, Key Largo Sportfishing Boats, Clearwater Sportfishing Boats, Cape-Craft Sportfishing Boats, and Sea Hawk Offshore Fishing boats under the Sak Marine umbrella, the Florence, Ala.-based company clearly has the powerboat world covered. Caravelle builds recreational pleasure boats, Interceptor targets the high-performance market, and the rest, each with some derivation of “fishing” in its brand name—well, you get the picture.
The reportedly “debt-free” company’s latest move, bringing on Nick Miller as managing partner and vice-president for all brands, is a savvy one. Miller started with Pro-Line Marine in 1986 and eventually worked his way up to becoming vice president of sales and marketing for Pro-Line and Donzi—arguably during their hey-days—until 2003. With Miller heading sales and marketing, both brands gained significant market share.
Pro-Line and Donzi provided Miller with plenty of serious exposure to both the fishing and go-fast boat worlds.
“I started there as a kid,” said Miller. “I started hanging drives, then moved to lamination, then moved to parts and service. They worked me through every bit of the product line before they threw me to the wolves. My first territory for Pro-Line was the Midwest—I was selling ‘fishing boats,’ though I knew enough to call them ‘rough-water boats,’ in the Midwest. And through my naiveté, if that’s the right word, I was able to sign up dealers, and some of our biggest dealers ended up being those in the Midwest.”
After leaving the companies he struck out on his own as a marketing consultant to a number of other builders. Most recently, though prior to the current bankruptcy debacle (See American Marine Holdings and Liberty Acquisitions File for Bankruptcy Protection), he worked as consultant for Fountain Powerboat and another brand he knew well, Donzi Marine.
“I’m thrilled to be part of Sak Marine, LLC. Clearwater, Key Largo, Caravelle, Interceptor, Cape Craft, and Sea Hawk all have great brand equity in the marketplace,” said Miller in a press release from the company.
Miller will have “an ownership” position with the company, according to the release. He will oversee sales and marketing for all of the company’s brands, as well as help develop new products and target future acquisitions. Among his most crucial and immediate tasks is implementing a “Head Start Program” focusing on domestic and international dealer profitability and long-term, “dealer friendly” strategic alliances between dealers and manufacturers.
“And after visiting the factory and closely going through the product I can say without hesitation that with their quality product and ‘Dealers First’ program, these brands are a boat dealer’s business dream come true,” said Miller. “I’m excited. There are a lot of choices out there. What I learned from Pro-Line and Donzi and from the companies I’ve consulted for is that you have to give dealers a reason to be your partner.”
- Matt Trulio