Sunday, January 27, 2008

Inner Harbor Marine - Milwaukee WI

A friend sent me the following announcement of a new marine store here in Milwaukee: Inner Harbor Marine (IHM), Milwaukee's fully independent, locally owned, newest, fully-stocked ships store and new boat sales facility recently opened in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. IHM features over 10,000 individual, boating related products ranging from boat care & maintenance supplies to marine electronics. IHM is located in the Harborfront Condominiums, 587 East Erie Street, and is accessible via the road and two dedicated docks on the Milwaukee River. IHM features paint from Interlux, safety equipment from Mustang Survival, cleaning and maintenance products from Meguiar's and is the dealer for Duffy Electric Boats. In addition to the unique location and ships store offering, IHM features a concierge service that will deliver products to a vessel at any of the marinas located in the Milwaukee metro area. The concierge service also features a "turn¬key" cleaning & stocking program that an owner can utilize to uncover, clean & stock his/her boat with supplies needed for a weekend rendezvous on Lake Michigan. Upon return to the dock, IHM will dispose of any trash, remove unused supplies, clean and cover the boat. IHM feels this service will be well received by an owner that wants to simply enjoy his/her boat without the preparation and maintenance requirements of ownership. IHM is owned and managed by a group of investors that consist of marine industry veterans, real estate developers and restaurateurs. Aaron Kelly, who oversees all of the operations for the IHM offering, maintains day-to-day management of Inner Harbor Marine. IHM was formed in April 2007, and has plans to expand into other operations consisting of marine spill response and cleanup, storage, service, water taxi and new boat leasing programs. Since I was near downtown I decided to take a look at the store. Harborfront Condominiums are on the channel between the Milwaukee inner and outer harbors. For those of you who come to any of the various Milwaukee fests the store is near the Marcus Amphitheatre end of the Summerfest grounds. First, the bad news. When I arrived there was a sign on the door saying that the staff were at the Milwaukee Boat Show at State Fair Park. So I didn't actually get to go inside the store, but I was able to look in the windows. The store is more wide than deep so I was able to get a good idea of the stock. At this point it seems to be pretty much standard stuff. Since the location is not all that convenient - it requires quite a bit of jogging around various streets to get there - we will have to see about prices. On the “show up and your boat is ready to go, return and we will take care of it” offering I just have never had a good idea of how big this market actually would be. Certainly there will be a few boats willing to do it, but enough to make a business of it? I simply don’t know. It never hurts to have a little competition to keep prices in line. I will visit again and provide a follow up report.

3 comments:

  1. Roger,

    Thanks for stopping by Inner Harbor Marine! Sorry we weren’t here to see you as the Milwaukee Boat Show was keeping me busy. A friend of mine told me about your blog and I went to take a look. Here are my responses to your post. Enjoy!

    First, the bad news. When I arrived there was a sign on the door saying that the staff were at the Milwaukee Boat Show at State Fair Park.
    • (I don’t consider it “Bad” to be closed while attending a boat show, especially in the dead of winter. Needless to say, if you arrived after 12pm, I had probably just left. I am usually in the store at 6:30 am most if not every morning. Being that Inner Harbor Marine is Managed and Operated by me personally with no other employees, it’s kind of hard to be in both places at one time. Maybe “Bad” is your way of implying “Inconvenient?”)

    So I didn't actually get to go inside the store, but I was able to look in the windows. The store is more wide than deep so I was able to get a good idea of the stock. At this point it seems to be pretty much standard stuff.
    • (I like your “Keywords.” What does “Standard Stuff” mean? Yes, we do have the standard stuff just like West Marine, where your son Trevor” is the Asst. Manager. Maybe I should offer him a Store Management Position here and he wouldn't have to drive as far! LOL! We also have more than the West on 76th and the one in Delafield. The store is stocking more and more everyday. We have things that West Marine doesn’t have. As for being more Wide than deep – We are a 3200 sq foot space. We are almost occupying all of it. I invite you to come talk to me and see the direction that we are going.)

    Since the location is not all that convenient - it requires quite a bit of jogging around various streets to get there - we will have to see about prices.
    • (Location Not Convenient? You are the first person I have heard make mention to our location not being easy to find. Everyone I have talked to, especially when you say Riptide Seafood Bar & Grill is in the same building, people actually comment on what a Great location this is. Being able to access Inner Harbor Marine from the Road and the River via two dedicated slips is amazing to all that have heard about it. Let me ask you a question – Would you rather drive 20-30 minutes West of the city to acquire the same products you can acquire here? You can even get a pump out and have lunch if you come by boat. )

    On the “show up and your boat is ready to go, return and we will take care of it” offering I just have never had a good idea of how big this market actually would be. Certainly there will be a few boats willing to do it, but enough to make a business of it? I simply don’t know.
    • (We actually have more than just a “Few” vessels that have signed up for this service. The number is at 16 currently. This service has been really well received. It seems that a lot of people work many hours during the week and want to enjoy their vessels without the headaches of ownership. As for making a business of it? This is just one of the many services that we offer. I perceive your blog as reading “If this is the only service they offer, don’t expect them to be around too long!”)

    I’m not upset about your blog posting but have felt the need to reply to you in my own words. I am really passionate about what I have created here over the last 8 months. I have taken a chance in a market where every other person says Milwaukee Boaters are too cheap but yet none of these people have stepped up to the plate and tried to make a go of it. The response to my venture has been great to say the least. I invite you down to have a Starbucks cup of coffee or hot chocolate and view the store. I think once you have a chance to see it from the inside and talk to me about what we are doing here, you may see more value in what is actually transpiring.

    I look forward to meeting you!

    Aaron Kelly - Owner
    Inner Harbor Marine

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://2gbmemory.net

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know why but this continues to be one of the most active posts on my blog. Is Inner Harbor back? I thought it had closed. Very curious.

    Roger

    ReplyDelete

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