By Bruce Claflin, Scuttlebutt Magazine
On July 10th, River Valley Power and Sport president John Wooden, announced the acquisition of Bill’s Bay Marina in Red Wing, MN. The purchase consists of the Bill’s Bay Marina showroom and service facility on 3rd St., as well as the 62 slip marina on Nymphara Ln. adjacent to Colvill Park. The acquisition increases River Valley’s high visibility and provides easy water access to Red Wing’s upper harbor. In addition, it further expands River Valley’s already significant footprint on the regional marine market.
The new properties will be renamed “River Valley Marina”, and will continue to operate unaffected as the transition takes place. While Wooden plans to initially operate the marina as normal, he sees an opportunity to update the assets and create one of the nicest marina settings on the upper Mississippi. In addition to dockage, the marina offers a gas dock, ships store, bait, tackle, laundry, and showers. Wooden says that Zach Paider, long time Brokerage Manager at the facility, will continue to oversee all brokerage sales. A very experienced service and marina staff will also be retained. Wooden said, “I intend on retaining the family 1st atmosphere at what we consider one of the finest marine locations in North America.” He went on to say that he plans on “investing heavily” in their facilities over the coming years. This is not Wooden’s first foray into marina operations. He has been an owner of the 98 slip Brown’s Bay Marina on Lake Minnetonka since 2014. In that time they have placed significant investment in remodeling and upgrades into Brown’s Bay, a marina that boasts a very long waiting list. Wooden says he will do the same in Red Wing.
According to Wooden, the dealership will continue to offer new, used, and brokerage boats , as well as service, repair, and parts at the 3rd St. facility. Financing will be done there as well. Currently, Bill’s Bay is the only BoatUS Tow Boat provider on this part of the Mississippi and Lake Pepin. Those services will also continue to be provided. He believes the purchase of the Bill’s Bay properties will provide River Valley the ability to expand into more large boat sales. The facility allows River Valley to continue it’s commitment to high quality marine service, parts, winter storage, and winterization. In addition, access to the river allows River Valley customer to see boats in a “floating showroom” and experience on water marine demonstrations. He plans to move his fiberglass brands into the 3rd St. location and will begin to offer the Monterey, Blackfin, Yamaha, Centurion, Supreme, and luxury pontoon lines there soon. Wooden sees the ability to separate those brands from his powersports, aluminum boat, and lawn equipment businesses as a nice addition.
River Valley is Minnesota’s largest volume marine dealer. They are the top BRP Evinrude dealer in North America, the largest Yamaha jet boat dealer in the U.S., 2nd largest Monterey dealer in North America, and a top 10 Bennington dealer. Most recently, River Valley was named to the prestigious Boating Industries Top 100 Dealer’s list.
River Valley Power and Sport currently employs around 100 dedicated individuals. The company operates several facilities in Red Wing and has another showroom and service facility on Lake Minnetonka. They have also begun construction of a new 20,000 sq. ft. Marine facility in Rochester, MN., which will be adjacent to their existing 22,000 sq. ft. Powersports facility there.