Each year Vic and I celebrate
two major anniversaries, our business and our
In fact, the business proposal
and the marriage proposal came to me in the same
breath some 20 years ago. Vic was here in N. Fort
Myers and managing Southwest Florida Yachts. I
lived and worked in Racine, Wisc. We talked on
the phone a lot. One time he called me up and
said something like, "Hey, Barb, Southwest
Florida Yachts is for sale. Let's get married
and buy it." That Vic. So romantic.
We celebrate the anniversary
of Southwest Florida Yachts on the day we bought
the company from the previous owner, July 13.
The twentieth anniversary date is actually more
than a year away, in 2004. Some might say we're
jumping the gun but, really, we're not. We're
going to make it a two-year-long celebration starting
this year. It will be our twentieth "Berth"
Day Party. We'll be announcing discounts and other
customer specials to last the year and suit the
occasion. Stay tuned.
Some people consider Friday
the thirteenth an unlucky day. I call it "Our
lucky day." However, I will admit that I
searched Yahoo for "business anniversaries"
a new screen appeared with an alarming notice,
"This page cannot be found." Uh oh.
By any reckoning, though,
being in business 20 years is a long time. Operating
a successful boating business for 20 years is
amazing. We've seen boating service firms come
and go with barely a whimper and rarely a bang.
It would take more fingers that I have on my hands
to count the number of charter boat companies
that have gone out of business just in the years
since we've been in business.
Coming from the Midwest,
where 50 and 75 year business anniversaries are
not uncommon, I still get a chuckle here in Florida
when I see a Yellow Pages ad bragging about being
in business "since 1974." Now, if you're
not from Florida you have to understand that 25
or more years in business in Florida is remarkable.
After all, modern Florida history only started
in 1956 when air conditioning came to the Sunshine
State. We like to joke that Florida wasn't discovered
by Ponce de Leon. It was discovered by an intrepid
band of real estate agents in the 1960s.
Let me add, too, that having
worked hard year after year to make this dream
real, Vic and I can personally testify that twentieth
anniversaries are special. In my internet browser
I read that we're supposed to seize the occasion
of an anniversary to articulate and communicate
our story to our "stakeholders."
Okay, stakeholders: Our
story is all about 20 fun years of doing what
we love to do, teaching people about sail and
power boating, "selling" the beauty
of Southwest Florida, and setting up cruises for
the most wonderful people in the world -- our
customers, our friends.