Big splash

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm

Delavan-based Summerset Marine plans to expand into Waukesha County by opening a location in Delafield.  The company offers high-end boat sales and service, custom pier manufacturing, shore improvement and boat storage. Summerset is a dealer of MasterCraft ski and wakeboard boats, Scout center console boats and Bennington pontoon boats. The manufacturers’ suggested retail price for the boat brands that Summerset carries range from $20,000 to more than $100,000.

By mid-December, Summerset plans to close on its purchase of a 7,500-square-foot building at W63 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Delafield, where it will develop its satellite office.

The new store, which will have about four employees, will sell boats and related accessories to the Lake Country market. It also will have at least one service technician for repairs and maintenance, said Mark Mahoney, co-owner of the company.

Overall, Summerset has about 50 employees, with about 75 in its peak season, which runs from when the ice melts to Memorial Day.

The Lake Country area is perfect for a satellite location of Summerset Marine because of the many lakes there, the affluent demographics and the fact that there aren’t many dealers there now that carry the same brands Summerset carries, Mahoney said.

“Look at the number of lakes in that one dense area,” he said. “Look at the value of the real estate and the cost of purchasing real estate on lakes. Our (new) location is right in the center of the 20 lakes in the Lake Country market.”

The new Waukesha County showroom is expected to be open by early February, just after the annual Milwaukee Boat Show is held at State Fair Park, Jan. 19-28.

Summerset currently sells and services many customers in Waukesha County’s Lake Country area, even though it’s about an hour drive away.

Mahoney and co-owner Larry Chapman both live in Waukesha County. Chapman lives along Lake Nagawicka and will oversee the operations of the new store, Mahoney said.

Meanwhile, their 22,000-square-foot facility in Delavan is in the final stages of its own renovations. A new 7,500-square-foot maintenance department was completed last week, and additional meeting and showroom space is being worked on, as well.

The Delavan facility was purchased in the spring of 2005 with three acres. Chapman and Mahoney bought an additional eight acres behind the dealership last spring, where crews are working on six new storage buildings.

Each of the buildings will be 17,500 square feet, with enough room to store 150 boats, giving the dealership indoor storage space for 900 boats. Summerset has already bought enough steel for three of the buildings, and Mahoney said the company will have as many built this year as possible.

The ambitious building projects are indicative of Summerset Marine’s sales over the past few years. The company is expecting revenues of about $10 million for 2006, doubling its revenues of 2005.

“Most of the doubling is in boats (sales),” Mahoney said. “We will sell about 250 boats this year.”

Once the Delafield store is open, sales could increase to between $13 million and $15 million, Mahoney said. Last year, Summerset began carrying Bennington pontoon boats. Due to competition rules, in Waukesha County the company could not sell the pontoon boat brand it carried before. However, it will be able to sell the Bennington brand in Waukesha County.

“We can now sell pontoon boats in Waukesha County – that’s going to be huge for us,” Mahoney said. “And there’s a great deal of opportunity for MasterCraft there. There’s no one with presence of the No. 1 and No. 2 brands up there.”

Chapman launched Summerset Marine in 1990, when he started building custom boat piers and shorelines. The company still has a 20,000-square-foot facility in Eagle, where it builds and designs custom piers.

Gradually, the company started offering more services, including sales and service of boat lifts. And as the company started offering more services, it became obvious that it should begin selling boats as well.

“Larry built the base (of the business) to the point that we have 750 customers that we do seasonable work for,” Mahoney said. “We want to be able to take care of the customer from the shoreline to the boat. These are busy people. We want them to come down to their pier on a Friday night or Saturday morning and turn the key. We want it to be as convenient for the customer as possible.”

Address: 5167 State Highway 50, Delavan

New facility: W63 E. Wisconsin Ave., Delafield

Employees: About 50


About $10 million for 2006

Web site:

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