While the past year has proven difficult for many businesses, Mid-Atlantic Watersports has not only survived the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but has thrived.
The pro shop located at The Boardwalk at Lake Anna opened last March, just before Governor Ralph Northam issued the first stay-at-home orders. It reopened over the summer. During the past year, the business made $1.2 million in sales, nearly double its goal of $700,000.
“I was surprised, but at the same time, because we have such an awesome team of people who are passionate and care, not just about working on boats, but about getting people out on the water so they can enjoy their boats, I think that’s one of the reasons [we did so well],” said Steve Harler, one of Mid-Atlantic’s founding partners.
The business recently acquired Pete’s Boat and Motor just outside of Louisa on Davis Highway for its second boat service location.
“There’s a lot of traffic [through here],” Harler said. “We feel like, with visability like we’ve never had before, we can grow our service business like never before.”
Mid-Atlantic Watersports offers a variety of services at the new location, from general repairs and maintenance to winterization and shrink wrapping services.
“Pretty much anything you can think of service-wise, we do here,” Harler said.
In addition to opening the new garage, Harler said that they will continue to do business at the pro shop at the Boardwalk and hopes they can do even more business over the next year.
“Last year, no one knew who we were,” he said. “Now that we’ve been around for a year, there’s a little bit of name recognition.”
Mid-Atlantic Watersports isn’t the only business on Lake Anna to find success during the pandemic. Many were able to stay afloat due to increased tourism and a rise in the number of people buying houses on the lake during the past year.
“People were wanting to get out on the water,” Harler said. “One of our biggest issues last year was that we ran out of boats to sell pretty quick.”
A ribbon-cutting event is scheduled at the new garage for April 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be food and drinks as well as an Easter egg hunt.