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78 Business View Magazine - April 2016

Business View Magazine - April 2016 79

White Lake Marine

Adapting and expanding a niche market

White Lake Marine has just celebrated its 60th year in

operation, having opened in 1955 on beautiful White

Lake in southeastern North Carolina. It is the oldest

Correct Craft dealership in the world, selling the com-

pany’s renowned brand of Nautique, inboard motor,

ski and wakeboard boats. David deAndrade is White

Lake Marine’s current General Manager. His parents,

Carl and Diane, bought the dealership in 1985, be-

coming its fourth owners. According to deAndrade,

his father, Carl, was a chemical engineer who had left

the corporate world and one day, while looking for a

campground, wound up in White Lake, where he pur-

chased the marina and operated it for many years be-

fore handing its day-to-day operations over to his son.

When Carl first bought the dealership, there were ten

or eleven other Correct Craft dealers in the state. But,

deAndrade says that his father saw a greater potential

for the boat business than many of his competitors did,

and that their more relaxed attitude gave their opera-

tions more the appearance of a seasonal hobby than

a growing enterprise. “They had the idea: ‘We’ll park

a couple of boats on the lot and if they sell, great,” he

explains. “But Dad started doing boat shows and actu-

ally promoted the business. By the late 80s, early 90s,

and right up until some of the soft economic times, he

took it to one of the top ten dealers of Correct Craft in

the world.”

Today, there are only two Nautique dealers left in

the state. The other, Race City Marine, is outside of

Charlotte, in Mooresville, N.C. There’s another dealer

on Lake Gaston, which straddles the North Carolina/

Virginia line, “but, technically, he’s in Virginia,” deAn-

drade quips, “so we pretty much have the marketplace

from the center of the state – the research triangle,

Raleigh/Durham area – east. It’s a large geographical

area, when you consider we basically cover half the

state of North Carolina.” deAndrade admits it can be

particularly challenging serving such a large area, es-

pecially since there are only a few ski lakes across a

huge swath of that land from Wilmington on the south-

east coast, northwest to Greensboro.

In addition to the Nautique line, White LakeMarine also

sells Moomba wakeboard and ski boats, as well as pre-

owned boats from trades and consignment. “But no

pontoons, jet skis, fishing boats, or runabouts,” says

deAndrade. “We’re in a niche market. Most boat deal-

AT A GLANCE

WHO:

White Lake Marine

WHAT:

Seller of inboard ski and wakeboard boats

WHERE:

White Lake, North Carolina

WEBSITE

:

www.whitelake.com