By ROGER AMSDEN
LLACONIA — Paugus Bay Marina, which was recently sold, will break ground in June on a two-phase expansion at an eight-acre site it has purchased near the Gilford Home Center on Gilford East Drive.
The first phase will see two boat storage buildings and a workshop building erected this year with two more boat storage buildings planned in the near future.
“It’s a new era. We’re so busy at our current location that we’ve run out of space. We already have Planning Board approval for the project,” said Kori Keenan of Paugus Bay Marina. He said the company stores 700 boats a year and needs additional space for storage as well as maintenance and repair.
Keenan, a former fourth-grade teacher at the Bessie Rowell Elementary School in Franklin, is the new person in charge at the marina.
In recent years he has served as general manager of the marina and has spent 18 years learning the business from the ground up under the tutelage of his uncle, Kevin Keenan, who opened the marina on Sheridan Street in Lakeport in 1995.
The marina was sold last month to Kevin Keenan’s brother, Gregg, the retired vice president of manufacturing for Freudenberg-NOK in Bristol, for $2,850,000.
“I started working here in 2000 as a utility guy, running the forklift, selling boats, working on repairs and helping out in the office. He taught me everything, from soup to nuts, about the boat business,” says Keenan.
A 1993 graduate of Gilford High School who earned a degree at Plymouth State College in 1997, Keenan got his start, just like his uncle, working summers at Channel Marine at the Weirs.
“He asked me to start working for him in 2000 and this has been my job ever since,” said Keenan.
He is looking forward to the challenge of being in charge of the marina as it works on a major expansion.
Paugus Bay Marina has two locations, the 4.14-acre Sheridan Street property with four buildings as well as dock space, and a second showroom at 1258 Union Ave. where the former Fitzgerald Motorsports building, that it leases, is located.
Keenan said his uncle is retiring from the business and that his father, Gregg, plans to limit his role in the business to that of providing the finances for the purchase and expansion.
He said the business has undergone rapid growth, especially since becoming the only Formula dealership in northern New England eight years ago. Keenan said he has learned valuable lessons from his uncle and plans to continue to maintain the same friendly atmosphere and community involvement that
“We’re going to continue on the same path and keep the same people who have brought us to where we are. We’ve built a reputation for service first and foremost and that won’t change,” said Keenan.
Laurie Fox, who has been with the business since it opened, will continue to be the office manager and Tommy Oliver, a master certified mechanic, will still be there, while Eric Van Steensburg, will be in charge of the service department.
The marina has raised over $100,000 for charities in recent years through its annual golf tournaments and every year hosts a large customer appreciation event that features food and live music.
Kori Keenan of Paugus Bay Marina says the business will be expanding its boat storage and maintenance and repairs operations to Gilford East Drive. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)