Strong’s Marine on Ole Jules Lane in Mattituck, with branches in and Flanders has a tradition of being a hub of activity covering all recreational boating needs under the mantra of “the home of super service.”
With four generations of experience of servicing boat owners from rebuilding engines to detailing, the Strong family has long been aimed at doing the best job possible in order to build “relationships.” The story of Strong’s Marine is one of father passing on life learned tips to his sons from the very beginning. In 1945 after World War II, Navy vets Stuart Strong of Babylon and buddy Sid Holland established Strong and Holland in Lindenhurst. Stuart Strong preached ”business relationships,” to his son and eventually his grandson.
David Strong, Stuart’s son, had a technical talent and when the time was right (1965) purchased James Creek Marina in Mattituck on 9 acres, from Pete and Jim Kreh with the help of his wife Dotti. Eventually Dotti actually watched over things while David harvested scallops and clams from both Peconic Bay and The Great South Bay. Then at night often with his son Jeff (present owner) holding the work light, David repaired motors and other technical things. The very early stages of Strong’s Marine was, “sort of like a farm,” recalls Jeff, “My sister Nancy, my Mom, and Dad and I all had our daily chores.” The original Strong’s Marine had a capacity of 30 boats using the old cable and pulleys system compared to today where there are 100 boats on floating docks in personal slips, along with capacity for 133 boats from land storage. Jeff’s calls this “Valet Storage,” because on demand your boat is placed safely into the water, or taken out of the water and stored safely on land.
Jeff Strong purchased the business from his mother and father in 1992. The family has grown the business into a full service award winning marine business. They sell both new and pre owned boats specializing in Cobalt’s (up to 46’), Pursuits (up to 37’) and Southport (up to 30’). The top-end boat they sells runs for $1.1 million fully loaded. They sell outboard motors featuring Yamaha and Mercury. Then they also sell and service inboard motors such as Mercruiser, Volvo and the legendary Cummings Diesel.
Strong’s Marine also specializes in Water Ski sales and products and often flies in the best in the world for demonstrations and exhibitions. After adding a location in Southampton to bring the convenience of building a relationship with Strong’s Marine to South Fork boaters who had to trek to the North Fork, Jeff said he now has 52 full time employees who each and every one has a two week retraining and continuing education class yearly. Jeff also explained that the business has an affiliation in Flanders with “Carolyn and Vinny.” His biggest surprise has been the growth and vitality of his internet boat sales business, which can be viewed at www.strongsmarine.com.
Used boats have been sold as far away as Croatia, Mexico, and Poland. When asked to take an educated guess on the number of boats sold since 1965, Jeff said, “Over 3500, but the new internet sales blows me away.” On the website there is also information about sailing classes, captain courses, and rental information along with inventory of what is for sale including sailboat riggings. But the trademark of doing business with Strong’s Marine is what Jeff Strong calls the commitment to high end full service. “We do things, we weren’t even asked to fix when we see they need attention,” he explained. It’s a long way since those nights holding the night light and handing his dad tools as he worked through the night to have a boat ready by dawn. Now Jeff’s and his lovely wife Re’s own two sons Jay and Ryan, the forth generation of Strong’s are on board. Jay who graduated from Babson is the sales manager and Ryan who completed his studies at Roger Williams in Rhode Island is in “operations.” Jeff said his wife Re is his inspiration, his best friend, and invaluable to Strong’s Marine.
Jeff’s sister, Nancy Strong is still very active and in fact is established a Lady Fins Boat Club with Jane Murray. For information call 631-298-4770.
Jeff is proud of the many honors and citations Strong’s Marine has earned because of their commitment to total excellent service at every level. They are rated in the top 20 of the 3500 nationwide dealers annually. Strong’s Marine is also a member of Cobalt Top 20 group, thus having an edge in the sharing of information to serve the customer.
Jeff Strong sums it up best, “We are a family oriented business with world class service. Customer satisfaction is what moves us. We have always had paid attention to every detail.” After World War II when Stuart Strong was sailing back from his Naval service in the Pacific perhaps he dreamed of a better world a better life for his future family. The dream happened and so many marine customers are the better for it.