The below article originally ran on boatingindustry.com.
BY TIM HENNAGIR, Boating Industry
A grand opening gala for Hagadone Marine Group’s new mega marine center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, attracted a high level of community and industry interest earlier this month.
More than 1,000 people turned out for the celebration and received a personal welcome from owner Duane Hagadone.
Chris Craft Boats Vice President Gavan Hunt, Volvo Penta North America OEM/Dealer Sales Manager Susan Bonivich, West Coast Malibu/Axis Representative Chris Loomis and Cobalt Boats Regional Sales Manager George Muffick also participated in the Aug. 12 event, which received front page newspaper coverage and attendee accolades.
“David Parker, our 20 group consultant, said that this is largest single-point service operation that he’s ever seen,” said Hagadone Marine Group President Craig Brosenne.
Hagadone, 85, greeted everyone who walked into the new facility and shook their hand. “That was phenomenal. He also gave about a 10-minute speech,” Brosenne said. ““He’s lived on the lake his entire life, and been in business for 70 years.”
New construction at the HMG site added three new buildings and more than 51,000 square feet of service center space.
“When you build something, always get a gut feeling that you could have done something differently,” Brosenne said. “When you do it on paper, it’s different than doing it in real life. I don’t think we made one mistake that I’m going to have come back and fix or correct. It’s working out great to see everything in action.”
HMG is a multi-tier dealership with 1,000 marina slips, Brosenne said. On the marine side, he manages 200 of the company’s 3,600 employees.
“We service 17 surrounding lakes in the inland northwest,” he said. “There are 20,000 boats in northern Idaho. Having and developing waterfront facilities has been a key component of our success over time.”
The center is located on 43 acres of annexed land near the mouth of the Spokane River.
“We bought this facility 10 years ago from one of the Top 10 dealers in the country in a town that only has 100,000 people,” Brosenne said, adding the new center addresses a number of environmental issues.
“We capped a lot of the site with asphalt. All of the environmental entities are excited about what we’ve done because it’s been a win-win for everybody,” he said. “I don’t know of anyone in the industry that’s built a service center and put in $150,000 worth of landscaping for a project that has 8,000 tons of rip rap for stabilization.”
Brosenne had plenty of praise for HMG’s employees regarding the service center’s completion. “I’ve been with the company 20 years, and it’s a taken a lot of our company’s time,” he said. “Many of our employees have been here 30 years. Our team members really stuck it out through the entire process. We built during the worst winter we’ve had in the last 30 years, and we went through a flood with water just 10 feet from the front door.”
HMG’s vision for the marine center is based on the Toyota car dealership model, where service is a huge focus and technicians have a steady workflow. “They have a 12-month model and we have a seasonal model,” Brosenne said. “To bring their vision into our world was my goal. I’ve visited some RV dealers that do the same thing, and I took their concepts and their processes and tried to align them with how we could provide a similar type of service model.”
Retaining and improving working conditions for dealer technicians is a top priority at HMG. “These guys work hard,” Brosenne said. “We have a 40-seat break room with a full kitchen, a locker room with 60 lockers, a shower room, and a private changing room. Our sales and service people eat lunch together, and that creates a unique cohesion. They interact in a nice facility that’s air-conditioned.”
Brosenne has scheduled a Cobalt 20 group meeting for November, and can’t wait to show off HMG’s most recent improvements.
“After you have a grand opening celebration, you are always raising yourself to the next level,” he said. “That November meeting will raise the bar, and make us cleaner, neater and tighter. We have a lot of processes to work out over the winter, but having a 20 group come in right away will help us to improve.”