Although Pier 57 Marine’s new location in Gurnee, Ill., is just two blocks from the current Waukegan facility, the 40,000 square feet of showroom, offices, storage space and completely expanded service center will be a major upgrade from the new and pre-owned high-performance powerboat dealers’ Waukegan location. According to Scott Sjogren, who owns Pier 57, a Cigarette Racing Team and Marine Technology, Inc., dealer, the move to the new home should be complete before the end of the year.
“We have been in the same building for almost 10 years, and we want to take our business in a slightly different direction both in terms of boat sales and the repair, maintenance and transport services we offer,” Sjogren said. “Our service department is continuing to grow, and there are things we have learned over the years, such as investing in new equipment and tools. I believe you have to become more value-added oriented today and become more of a ‘boutique’ than a boat dealership. I think the days of just being a boat dealership are numbered.”
Sjogren said with his boutique concept for Pier 57, which specializes in performance boats 30 feet and longer, the emphasis has to be on the “complete customer experience.” To that end, the new facility will be equipped with photography friendly T-5 lighting in its showroom and larger, more comfortable sales offices. Customers will now have the ability to “spec-out” new boats before their eyes with laptop computers that will be linked to various flat-screen televisions in the showroom and offices.
Pier 57 will also continue to feature indoor storage for all of its pre-owned and new-boat inventory. That makes the dealer a 12-month-a-year business, rather than something seasonal.
In addition to upgrading Pier 57’s service center, the company will continue to expand its concierge and transportation services. To accomplish this goal, the dealer has purchased new trucks to transport its clients’ boats to events all over country, and added additional staff, according to Sjogren. The concierge side of the business is more than boat delivery, he explained. It includes detailing, fueling, service and having the boat ready to go before events such as poker runs, and taking them off their owners’ hands when the events are finished.
“Our customers spend a lot of money on their boats and transporting them to events,” Sjogren said. “The goal with our concierge service is to add value to that experience.”
Sjogren added that in his 10-plus years in the high-performance powerboat dealership world, he has learned that finding a niche and specializing has served him well, and the new facility is a natural extension of his ‘boutique’ dealership philosophy.
“Being just a ‘boat dealer’ is kind of a thing of the past,” said Sjogren. “When a consumer visits our facility, they do not just come in for the product, they come in for the experience. Consumers today expect one-stop shopping experiences and we believe the boutique will be the future ‘model’ and that’s exactly what we are looking to provide within our new facility. It’s no different than a high-end automobile dealership. The experience has to be there or you won’t survive.”