Manufacturers Comment on
In late June, marine online industry trade media reported the closure of Nautical Enterprises, Inc., parent company of H&S Yachts and Southwestern Yachts, one of the largest and most well respected yacht dealers on the West Coast. The website posting announcing the cease in operations sent shockwaves through the sailing community.
The business, founded in 1989 by CEO Michael Berk and president Doug Ament, included four locations throughout California. It represented a mix of both sail and power boats, and specialized in the 30- to 70-foot range. Lines featured included Jeanneau, Hunter, Beneteau and MacGregor, along with Navigator, Lagoon, Californian, Doral, Silverton and Fairline. The company had just finished an expansion of its Marina del Rey waterfront offices last September, resulting in a consolidation of its Newport Beach location into a superstore in Marina del Rey.
Sailing manufacturers were tapped by Sail America News for response to this unfolding report.
“We have yet to know the full extent and commensurate outcome of the situation relative to the closing of Nautical Enterprises' various dealerships and all their financial obligations that may have effect on many facets of their business,” said Wayne Burdick, president of Beneteau USA. “What we can say is that Southwestern Yacht Sales was an important part of Beneteau's dealer network, with a great customer service reputation and a dynamic sales team. We are quickly exploring several options to possibly enable the core members of the Southwestern team, those that truly drove the success of that specific dealership, to transition to a new entity which would continue to provide excellence in delivering Beneteaus to happy owners.”
“Not knowing the inner workings of the past operation, it would only be conjecture on my part to say anything more than it is very sad to have had Nautical Enterprises cease operations,” he added. “Our thoughts are with the many families and suppliers impacted by this unexpected tempest. Certainly Beneteau will continue to have a dominant presence in Southern California, and with inklings of an economic recovery and continuing improvement in consumer confidence; San Diego should soon again have a profitable, professional dealership representing the number one brand in America.”
Hunter Marine Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Peterson added, "We are extremely disappointed that H&S has decided to cease operations in Southern California. We wish the two principals who have guided H&S over the past 21 years as a Hunter dealer -- Mr. Michael Berk and Mr. Doug Ament -- the best of luck in the future, as well as all the employees of H&S.”
“Hunter Marine has taken action to have the Hunter Hotline 1-800-771-5556 available for any customer service concerns through our customer service department,” he added. “We expect to have a new dealer or dealers announcement by July 15 to carry on Hunter sales and service in this fabulous sailing area of North America."
In an official communication to its dealer network following the announcement, Jeanneau President Paul Fenn wrote, “H&S Yacht Sales, one of Jeanneau’s largest and most successful dealers made the decision to shut their doors last week and exit the business. If this comes as a shock to you you’re not alone.”
“H&S was a leader in the industry; a truly great company with solid leadership and a talented team of dedicated employees that helped grow Jeanneau to heights never imagined when we started working with them in 1995. I will miss them all personally and professionally. We are working on a plan to find a new dealership to represent Jeanneau in Southern California.”