After nearly a decade in the marine and watersports industry, John Goldberg has seen a lot.
As the early season heat draws its yearly influx of people to the Lake Country, Goldberg will begin his 10th summer in the marine sales and repair industry, and his customer flow shows no signs of slowing down until early fall.
At Georgia Watersports, the North Columbia Street retail and repair shop that he manages year-round, he and his six employees are preparing for what might be the shop’s busiest year to date.
“I would say that most of our clients are regular customers,” said Goldberg from the shop’s main warehouse. “You can’t please everybody, but most of our customers are recurring, and we’ve had some customers basically from when we opened. Every year we’ll get a couple new people coming in wanting their boats fixed, and [even if] it’s because everybody else is backed up and we’ll be the earliest to get to their boat, most of the time they come back and are satisfied with the job.”
Although Georgia Watersports looks much like a Lake Country boat dealer might be expected to look, the company and its origins are fairly unique. When Goldberg’s brother-in-law, Nathan Collins, was laid off from the former Brown and Williamson tobacco factory in Macon, the company gave him a severance package with a stipend for professional training. After using the money for a class at Central Georgia Technical College in Milledgeville, Collins decided he wanted to enter the marine business and started the Georgia Watersports. Now in its fourth year on North Columbia Street after seven years on U.S. 129, the shop offers a wide selection of parts, repairs and retail sales.
“We do part sales, boat repair, work on Honda and Yamaha outboards, and we’re a Honda and a Yamaha dealer,” said Goldberg. “We also sell…