Before it was sold to marine industry veteran Scott Sjogren in 2012, Pier 57 Marine in Counce, Tenn., was MTI’s leading dealer. The dealership, which also carried the Cigarette Racing Team V-bottom line for years, was owned by a local gentleman named David Woods.
Though Carey Downs and Reese Lewis, both of whom died in 2014, are no longer with us, their memories remain.
Woods, who also owned a Chinese restaurant, a fitness center and pretty much everything else in the tiny Tennessee town, was an endearing, charismatic character who attracted ferociously loyal employees. Among them was salesman Carey Downs, and he became the public face of Pier 57 at boat shows and poker runs for several years.
A good-natured, easygoing guy, Downs was armed with a great smile and a strong handshake. That, plus his casual good looks, made him the perfect front-man for the Pier 57 brand of high-touch client service when his boss was unavailable.
More than a few folks, including this reporter, considered him among the nicest—if not the nicest—and most genuine people in the high-performance marine industry.
“I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like Carey,” said Greg Harris, his longtime friend in South Florida. “He always had a smile and a handshake for anybody he could find.”
In August 2014, Downs died in a nighttime boating accident along with Jeremie Floyd, the husband of former Pier 57 employee Marsha Floyd, on the Tennessee River. Downs was 39 years old. Floyd was one year his senior.
Word of Down’s death rippled through the go-fast boating community. Wrote his longtime friend Reese Lewis, who would die suddenly of undisclosed causes later that year, on her Facebook page, “I can’t breathe—this is so devastating.”
Editor’s note: “MTI At 25” is a weekly series on speedonthewater.com celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. A new installment will go live every Wednesday on speedonthewater.com through the end of the year.
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