We got into the marine business because of our love of nature and the outdoors, and our motivation is to help people have fun in the outdoors on our beautiful bodies of water.
In 1986, we acquired the Beech Fork Lake Marina, a marina with 275 slips and a boat rental facility just outside Huntington, West Virginia.
In 1991, we started our boat dealership, The Great Outdoors Marine and Sports Shop. In the beginning, we sold pontoon boats and aluminum fishing boats, as well as archery hunting equipment and fishing tackle. We soon added fiberglass bass boats.
We outgrew our original facility, and in 1997 built a new building with a large indoor showroom and service facility. We then added runabouts and deck boats to our line up. In 2008, we added another service building, giving us over 20,000 square feet under roof, and greatly increasing our service efficiency.
In 2012, we received national recognition as a Marine 5-Star Certified Dealer and a Boating Industry Top 100 Dealer, in both cases the only West Virginia boat dealer to ever achieve these honors.
We continue to look for ways to better our business and improve our overall customer satisfaction and to make the boating lifestyle more enjoyable for our customers.
Before buying Beech Fork Lake Marina in 1986, Phil and Diane were in the oil business, working for Texaco in New Orleans in offshore oil exploration and development.
Phil was a geologist and Diane was a geophysicist, and it was in New Orleans where they met and got married. Phil grew up in Huntington, got a Bachelor’s degree in geology at Marshall University and a Masters degree in geology at the University of South Carolina, then started work at Texaco in New Orleans. Diane got a Bachelor of science degree in geology at Indiana University and continued graduate studies in geology and biology before beginning work at Texaco.
They got into the marine business because of their love of the outdoors, and now get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people have fun and enjoy the boating lifestyle. They still participate in outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and bicycling, and Phil hunts while Diane takes pictures of animals and outdoors scenery.