By Bruce Claflin, Scuttlebutt Magazine
Each year Marina Dock Age magazine honors two marinas (one large – more than 250 slips – and one small) with the Marina of the Year awards. Facilities from across the country complete detailed applications, competing in many different categories – business operations, renovations, advertising/marketing, community and industry involvement, special challenges and more.
This year’s recipient in the Small Marina (under 250 slips) category was Rockvam Boat Yards of Lake Minnetonka. It is the first such award for Rockvam, and the first National #1 award for any Minnesota marina. The award recognizes the Marina as one who exhibits the most exemplary business practices that support customers, the environment, and the industry. The Marina industry is today recognizing what Rockvam customers have known for years, Rockvam is a place that puts the customer experience #1.
In 1961, Jerry and Joyce Rockvam started a small facility on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, and 57 years later, the business is still going strong and still adapting every year to the changing market and business. Even with 50 wet slips, 120 dry storage spaces, a boat club, pontoon and fishing boat rentals and a winter storage business to keep them busy all year-round, the service business is still the core of this boatyard. In 2012, Rockvam Boat Yards helped create the Minnesota Clean Marina program, as one of its inaugural members and an integral part of developing the guidelines. The marina has never stopped adapting and looking for new ways to serve customers on the lake and attract locals and new visitors to boating. With creative and persistent marketing, strong leadership, and talented and well-trained employees, Rockvam Boat Yards excels at customer satisfaction and creating a special experience at its waterfront.
A History of Growth and Innovation
Rockvam Boat Yards started operating in 1961 with one dock, one warehouse, and a Ship’s Store in the basement of their family home. In the years that followed they would add additional dock and warehouse space, eventually tearing down the family home and replacing it with a new dry stack storage facility and a new Ship’s Store. What started as dockage, a gas dock, winter storage, and repairs is now a full service marina featuring dry stack, boat rentals, and a boat club. Throughout their history, Rockvam has been out in front of the pack in new innovation. Jerry Rockvam began the dry stack concept locally in 1967, a move that earned him induction into the North Central Marine Association Hall of Fame. This forward thinking led Rockvam to create their In/Out service which simply stated means that customer boats are only in the water when the customer is using them. Today when a customer calls ahead, their boat is in the water, ready to go when they arrive. This eliminates the hassles of trailering their boat or long waits at the launch ramp. It also eliminates much of the hull maintenance required by boats that are left in the water regularly.
In 1989, Rockvam started their boat rental service with a single pontoon. Today, exploring Lake Minnetonka has never been easier as Rockvam boasts 15 rental units that are available for day use. Constantly upgrading their fleet to newer and easier to drive pontoons has allowed access to family boating on Lake Minnetonka at an affordable price.
Novice and experienced boaters alike can benefit from the Rockvam Boat Club. The boat club features unlimited access (by reservation) to a complete fleet of boats all summer long. Whether you enjoy cruising the lake, or want to take the kids tubing, Rockvam has a boat for you. No hassles—-members may simply make their reservation online and their boat of choice is ready to go at the appointed time.
As I look at Rockvam’s history I see their strong commitment to customer service and delivering a high quality customer experience. I see something else too. The Rockvam family, then and now, has systematically eliminated the barriers that exist between people and their access to a great boating experience. They make boating easier for everyone and with their 2017 Marina of the Year award, they have made Minnesota Boating #1. Congratulations to the entire Rockvam family!
In celebration of this prestigious national award, Rockvam is offering a “Minnesota Boating is #1” Celebration pack. To get yours, just text ‘MNboat’ to 952-222-0379