By Chad Richardson
It didn’t take long for Grant Westby to
figure out his calling in life. It was sales.
What he’d sell, though, took some time to
He worked in sales at a men’s clothing
store. He sold Kirby vacuums door-todoor.
Finally, late in 1981, he came across
something that looked like a better fit —
boat sales. He applied and landed the job
at Crosstown Marine in Rogers.
His first day on the job was the boat show
in 1982. He quickly knew he’d found the
right career path.
“Those were some of the heydays at the
boat show,” Westby said. “We had lines
that were four people wide and a hundred
people deep. There was an hour waiting
list just to get on your boat.”
Since 1982, Westby has worked in boat
sales. Now, you’ll find him working at
Afton Marina as the boat sales manager.
He’s worked there since 2001 and has
been in his current role for the past dozen
years or so. Prior to that, he had his own
yacht brokerage company and would work
in the fiberglass department at the marina
during the winter.
“I’ve learned a lot about boats,” Westby
He grew up on the water. Westby was
born in Red Wing and graduated from high
school in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. His father
had a boat and when Westby was 16, he
started boating himself. He’s 57 now and
has lost track of all the boats he’s bought
and sold for his own use.
Nowadays, when the boating weather is
best, he spends his time selling boats and
not at the helm.
“I don’t have time to be a boater
now,” he said with a laugh. “I’m at
the marina six days a week and answer
my phone seven days a week.”
But he does have a passion for
fishing which gets him on the water
from time to time.
It wasn’t always that way though,
his wife, Jill, and his two daughters
spent a lot of time on the water while the
girls were growing up.
“It’s a great way to be outdoors,” he said.
“There’s fresh air, camping, barbecuing
and many other ways to enjoy your time
on and around the water. It’s the best way
to spend summers, especially in this area.”
Westby’s role at Afton Marina has selling
boats all across the metro, including the
Lake Minnetonka area, as well as up and
down the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.
He’s shipped boats all across the country
and sold everything from 85-foot houseboats to wood boats to a concrete and foam homemade trawler.
“There’s hardly anything I haven’t sold,”
Pairing up a seller and a buyer is a fun process for Westby. Getting it right is always rewarding. So, too, is ensuring that the buyer knows his or her new boat inside
“I give unlimited driving lessons included
in every sale Iw do until the customer is
comfortable. I sell a lot of large boats to
people who have never boated in their
life. They don’t even know the first thing
about the kitchen or driving it in all kinds
of weather. That’s why I take care of them
until they are comfortable with their new