The year was 1949. President Truman was in office, The Yankees had beaten the Dodgers in the World Series, the Lone Ranger was Galloping across TV sets, Post World War II America was emerging and the Baby boom had begun.
Out in Brighton, Michigan a water sports enthusiast; my Grandfather Ken Wilson prepared to pursue his own American Dream, that was to own his own business. It was his love of boating and fishing that spurred Ken to go into the boating business.
In 1949 with financial help from his father, Wilson opened his first store, called Wilson Sales and Rental Service. Early on Ken Wilson understood the need to offer his customers quality products, large selections and most importantly good service. Values that continue to be held in the present day by his sons Ron and Randy Wilson.
Throughout the 1950's the boating industry grew with many new manufacturers popping up. Ken saw the competitors and decided to compete not by adding showroom space, but by concetrating his efforts in the service department. He welcomed service customers who had purchased elsewhere but needed local service.
In 1987 Wilson expanded his showroom allowing more than 50 boats to remain displayed at one time, becoming one of the largest indoor boat showrooms in Michigan. Showing the diversity of the dealership Wilson added large mid-range cruisers and motor yachts.
Throughout the 1990's we continued to sell more than 1,000 boats a year, and at the vision of Ron and Randy Wilson; Ken's two sons, we expand our service facility. The 18,000 square foot parts and service complex sits on 20 acres and with 26 service bays which includes a state of the art paint and fiberglass area, and an on site water test facility, Wilson continues to never lose sight of his "Service First" philosophy. In 1990 Boat and Motor magazine honored Ken and his sons for all their hard work giving them the honor of being the National Dealer of the Year.
At the time of his passing, Ken was credited for selling more than 30,000 boats and motors. You might even have owned one and chances are you've ridden in a boat delivered by Wilson Marine.
As we entered the 21'st century we continued to expand our operations. 2001 brought the grand opening of Wilson Marine II, and in 2004 we cut the ribbon on a new state of the art test drive center giving the customer an opportunity to drive before they buy. Wilson Marine has also opened new locations in Commerce Township, and Harrison Township. We have expanded our storage capablities, with over 500 boats in the air and another 500 stored inside our storage centers. Our parts and accessories areas have doubled in size providing all the water toys you can imagine.
Now with myself as the third generation of Wilsons on board, we are continuing to grow by looking into new locations across the state of Michigan. In just 10 years we have doubled the number of boats we sell a year, selling boats all around the world.
When you see a boat with the Wilson Marine logo on the back of a boat, you know you're getting a quality boat, tested and rigged correctly.
With another boating season approaching, we will continue to be there for our customers just as we have for the past 6 decades. The staff at Wilson Marine would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of customers we've had pleasure to meet and service. We wouldn't be 60 without you.