Melvin Village Marina opens new showroom in OssipeeBy LARISSA MULKERN
Union Leader Correspondent
May 02. 2013 10:56PM
OSSIPEE - The Tuftonboro-based Melvin Village Marina, which has served Lake Winnipesaukee boaters since launching in 1954, has opened a sales office in the eastern lakes region to serve a new customer base on the Route 16 corridor.
Melvin Village Marina owner Tom Young, who purchased the company in 1981, said the new showroom opened on March 25 on Route 16 in Ossipee. The sales shop, which offers some accessories such as lifejackets and water ski boards, is located on a leased, two-acre lot.
Longtime employee Erin Donnelly, who now manages the new sales shop and outdoor showroom, inspired the new location. Young said with a mountain range literally in between Lake Winnipesaukee and the myriad of smaller lakes to the east, the area presents a completely different market.
"There's a different orientation as to where to go shopping and buy food," she said. "Where we are in Melvin Village, visitors might tend to go to Manchester or to Steeple Gate Mall in Concord; people who live on the Route 16 side tend to travel from Portsmouth, Rochester and Dover."
Party and family-friendly pontoon boats were the only part of the recreational boat industry that continued to grow through the recession.
"Many other (brands) saw a 50 to 70 percent drop in sales," said Young, adding that many New Hampshire-based boat dealers with storage space to store and sell the larger boats survived due to strong sales in pontoon boats.
Young said the company also felt there was a strong market for its primary brands: Four Winns, Key West, Lund fishing boats, and Harris pontoon boats. Aside from the excitement of reaching a fresh new market, Young enjoys telling the story of Donnelly's growth with the company.
"It's a good story," he said. "Erin came to work for us when she was 15 years old as a boat cleaner. She worked summers, vacations, then all through high school and college."
She was such a good worker that Young and his son Matt created a new job for her - to supervise all the other boat cleaners.
When she was just short of graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in recreation management, they created a full-time job for her, and she's been with the company ever since.
Donnelly said a few years ago when the company was thinking about expanding, possibly to the western part of the state, she noted that there were no boat sales facilities in the Ossipee area.
"I grew up in Brookfield and know the Route 16 corridor," she said, adding there are many lakes, including Ossipee Lake, Province Lake, Pine River Pond, Great East and many more spots where people enjoy boating.
At the shop on Thursday, Donnelly said she enjoys her job - customers come in, buy a boat and leave with a smile.
She said the shop is already drawing customers.
"People are happy to see us here," she said. "In the future, we'll offer service."
Currently, the Ossipee shop is open Thursday through Sunday and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in May.