214 215 in Gulfport in 2000; and opened our third store in Daphne, Alabama, last March.” King eventually sold the yacht brokerage, and today, Ocean Marine has approximately 35 employees who sell “a smattering of just about everything,” he relates. “We have the best se- lection of products from a few hundred-dollar jon boats, all the way up to half-million-dollar offshore boats, and everything in between.We have a little bit to offer to everyone interested in boating.” Brands sold include EdgeWater, Ben- nington, MasterCraft, Chaparral, Triton, Key West, Misty Harbor Pontoons, Ranger, Sportsman, and Billistic offshore boats, as well as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Mercury outboards. The company also sells boating parts and accessories, as well as Sport Trail trailers and used and consignment boats of all types. King believes that Ocean Marine is able to com- pete well due to strict internal processes and pro- cedures. “Our management team reviews things regularly, digging down into every aspect of the business.When we have an issue that shows up on a report too often, then we address it and see what we can do to change it.We have happy, satisfied, competent employees - and that relates to happy, satisfied customers. That results in high Consumer Service Index (CSI) scores that indicate OCEAN MARINE GROUP we are satisfying our customers better than our competition.” While many businesses face difficulties, little can compare to the double whammy that confronted Ocean Marine beginning with the Great Recession in 2008, when, nationwide, nearly 40 percent of the country’s boat dealers went under, and then continuing with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. “There were many sleep- less nights during the downturn,” King remembers. “But we were very efficient in our operation; we scaled back, got lean and tight- ened our belts.We had positioned ourselves, just prior to that, to minimize our debt as best we could and we were able to squeak by because of the reputation we had built. The biggest impact to us was the BP oil spill – that was absolutely devastating.When they closed the Gulf, we did not have a boat buyer in the store for three solid months.” AT A GLANCE OCEAN MARINE GROUP WHAT: An award-winning boat dealer serving communities in Mississippi and Alabama WHERE: Gulf Hills, Mississippi WEBSITE: