Edgartown Marine Tuesday announced that George J. Rogers Jr. and Sheryl L. Roth Rogers of Vineyard Haven have purchased Edgartown Marine, Inc., and Edgartown Marine Boat Services from longtime owners Tony Chianese of West Tisbury and Maurice Dore of Edgartown.
“Maury and Tony will continue their roles in the business in order to assist with making the management transition more seamless for our customers and employees,” Mr. Rogers said in a press release.
Edgartown Marine provides waterfront services from town-owned land and docks at the end of Morse Street in Edgartown, under the terms of a long-term lease. Selectmen signed off on a lease transfer Friday. The purchase price was not disclosed.
A 25-ton boat lift provides hauling and storage of boats up to 35 feet in length, including hurricane services for storage clients. The company provides service and indoor and outdoor storage at its Mill Hill facility off Herring Creek Road.
“We looked long and hard for the right person to acquire our business,” Mr. Chianese said in a press release. “We wanted someone that understood the unique character of the Island and the select clientele that we have developed solid business relations with over the past decades.”
Mr. Rogers grew up in Vineyard Haven and has multi-generational Island roots. Following successful corporate careers — he in finance and his wife in marketing — the couple said they decided to follow a dream and return to the Island.
In a telephone conversation with The Times Tuesday, Mr. Rogers said that once he and his wife made the decision to leave the corporate world and return to the Vineyard, they went looking for a business that would be a perfect fit for their interests, skills, and entrepreneurial ambitions. Edgartown Marine turned out to be it.
He describes himself as an avid fisherman. “We love the ocean, we love boating, and the two of us still have plenty of ambition to continue doing things, stay productive, and be involved in the community,” he said.
Mr. Rogers said he approached Mr. Chianese and Mr. Dore about a sale, and throughout their discussions it was apparent that the owners wanted to find the right person to buy a company they had put their hearts and souls into for the last 17 years.
“They wanted somebody who understood the culture of the Island, the culture of the people who worked there and had a long-term commitment to the business,” he said. “Not somebody who wanted to buy it, flip it, and make a quick buck and move on.”
Asked about their immediate plans, Mr. Rogers said their first goal is to have a smooth transition and build on established relationships that exist with employees and customers. He described Edgartown Marine as a town landmark, one that provides vital services to the harbor and town.
Going forward, he said he wants to grow the service and storage business beyond the bounds of Edgartown. “There are plenty of areas for growth,” he said. For now, he said he wants to understand the elements of the business that are successful and the elements that are struggling and improve both.
For more than 30 years Edgartown Marine, which included the Mill Hill boatyard and Morse Street docks, supplied almost all harbor services for the town, including boat pump-outs, boaters’ showers and restrooms, moorings, and launch service.
In the early ’90s, the relationship between Edgartown Marine owner Leonard Greene and some town leaders became increasingly fractious. Mr. Greene decided to sell his operation on the open market.
“Maury and I convinced him of the importance of keeping an operating boat yard in Edgartown,” Mr. Chianese wrote in response to a question from The Times. “So we convinced him to let us lease the business from him in 1994 and we ran it as Edgartown Marine Associates, a corporation owned by Maury and I and we paid Leonard monthly rent. In 96/97 he wanted to liquidate all the real estate to a private party that would have made a private compound of the North Wharf and the two houses he owned at the end of Morse Street, then sell off Mill Hill and the Fuller street property separately.
“We approached Ted Morgan and asked Ted if he thought the Town would be interested in buying the waterfront property from Leonard If we could convince Leonard to sell it to the Town.”
It took some convincing but the two men were able to convince Mr. Greene that a boat yard was very important to everyone in the community. Mr. Greene agreed to sell to the town with the agreement that whoever bought Mill Hill would have an easement to the waterfront to continue an operating boat yard.
As he has so often in the town’s history, selectman Fred “Ted” Morgan stepped in to find a solution. At a special town meeting on December 16, 1996 voters approved a purchase of the docks, floats and property.
For more information on Edgartown Marine call 508-627-4388 or go to: edgartownmarine.com.