The House That Makes Boat Calls
by Stephanie Brown
Few of us can say that our daily job is not only making dreams come true, but bringing families together in the process. Kevin, Sandy, and AJ Mast, however, can say that with pride, as it is a big part of the foundation that their family-owned and operated business, The Boathouse at Grand Lake, was built upon in Celina, Ohio.
The Boathouse at Grand Lake carries new boats by Lowe, Avalon Luxury Pontoons, and Mercury Outboard, as well as a selection of boating accessories. The Masts are also proud to be authorized dealers of Piranha Propellers and Interstate batteries.
Kevin, who retired after 26 years of service in the Celina school district, speaks highly of his son AJ, referring to him as the “meat and potatoes” of the family business. “AJ spent a year at Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando, learning the techniques required to become a certified Mercury technician.
“Although we do sell new boats and store boats for the winter months, as well as shrink-wrap them in preparation for the colder season, our livelihood comes primarily through repairs. AJ is the backbone of this business, and Sandy and I are just helping out,” he adds, with a smile.
AJ continues to take yearly classes hosted by Mercury that keep him up to date with any changing features in the Mercury motors or any product updates, ensuring that any work he does is covered by a warranty. Classes are held in Georgia and Wisconsin, and AJ jokes that if you like the snow, you could head up north, but he prefers the warmer weather, and always heads south.
Sandy, who Kevin lovingly refers to as the “financial wizard” of The Boathouse, explains, “Each one of us have our niche, and together, we make it all work. It takes a very special person to be in a family business, and after thirty years of working with my brother, I have had plenty of practice!
“We have always joked that if you have never been in a family business, then don’t,” Sandy says with a giggle. “You have to be able to put aside all of the work stuff when you walk out of work, because you are going home with your co-workers, and there very well could be a family dinner.
“You have to be able to get over things quickly, and you can’t let the little disagreements at work carry over to home. It takes a special kind of relationship to make any family business work.”
When asked what it is that sets their business apart from the rest, the three all seem to agree that it is primarily the core values brought over from their family life. “We are very concerned with things being done right and with our customers being satisfied with our service. We treat everyone who walks through the door as if they were family, and we realize how important it is to get their boat in quickly, get it fixed right the first time, and get them back on the water,” says AJ.
He jokes, “No one wants to see their boat mechanic more than twice a year; once to put their boat in the water, and once to take it out!”
It seems almost too obvious that one of the most rewarding parts of their job is being able help a family find the right boat. Sandy recalls an instance where it had taken a while to find the perfect boat for a family with four small children and another on the way, but when they did, one of those children came right up to hug Kevin, who stands well over six feet tall, out of sheer excitement.
“Boating brings families together. It’s a pastime well worth sharing and handing down to future generations,” Sandy adds.
The Boathouse at Grand Lake showcases what it is really like to care for your customers as if they were family. With knowledgeable staff, who stay up to date with the latest Mercury marine motor upgrades, and who also takes pride in maintaining reliable and friendly service, you’re guaranteed a recipe for success. Being greeted at the door with a smile promised to make anyone feel welcomed, the Masts have made going to the boat mechanic seem almost enjoyable.
With a family name like Mast, along with the fact that they have spent over the last thirty years on a boat, one could say that boating runs deep in their genes by now. They all share a love for the peace and serenity they have found in boating as a family, and they enjoy being able to share that love with other people.
So, if you’re looking for a new boat, a reliable boat mechanic, a place to store your boat through the winter months—or you just want to meet some good people, stop by and check out The Boathouse at Grand Lake…
The house that makes boat calls.
The Boathouse at Grand Lake
1112 S. Main Street
Celina, OH 45822