216 217 OCEAN MARINE GROUP Luckily for King, he was able to get the busi- ness back on its feet. “I hold the distinction of being the first marine dealer to file a claim with BP, and also to settle the final claim with BP,” he explains. “While it was an arduous task, I feel fortunate that I made the right decision by not hiring a lawyer; I worked the claim myself with my CPA. I probably worked that claim every day– sometimes for eight hours a day– for a year and got it settled. I have no problem buying BP gas the rest of my life because they treated me fairly and made me whole as if the oil spill had never happened.” After two decades of running Ocean Marine, King is beginning to think about retiring, espe- cially since the opening of the Alabama location – something that he wanted to do for a long time. “When the time comes, I will either structure the business to operate on its own with me just having a finger on the pulse, remotely, or making it attractive enough to where someone comes in and purchases it. Meanwhile, things are good, the economy’s good with nothing but positive indica- tors; consumer confidence is extremely high, right now; CEO confidence is high, and we’re doing everything we can to be as efficient as we can and reduce our debt with a goal of eliminating our debt within the next five years.” Since 2014, Ocean Marine has been recognized by Boating Industry Magazine as one of the Top PREFERRED VENDOR n Bennington Marine Group Bennington Marine manufactures pontoon boats, and offers its products through a network of dealers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Europe, and South Africa. The company also provides apparel, headwear, and accessories. It was founded in 1997 and is based in Elkhart, Indiana. 100 dealers in North America. “It has nothing to do with vol- ume,” King says. “It has to do with your internal processes and procedures, your performance to industry standards, and your ability to satisfy customers. And for the last three years, we have been recognized as being in the Top 100.We recently submitted our application for this year, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’ll be selected, again.” If King does decide to leave the business, and, as he plans, retire to a cattle ranch somewhere in Colorado, he aims to go out on top.