Coastal Boat Sales: All’s Well on the Water with a Pursuit PPP Loan
Coastal Boat Sales in Brick, New Jersey, sells about 100 new and pre-owned boats each year, specializing in two particular types of boats: offshore center-console boats and luxury pontoons. In addition, Coastal provides a range of services from boat storage to repairs, customization and maintenance for approximately 200 clients each year.
“We started 11 years ago with nothing and in the years since, Coastal’s grown to become the sixth-largest Tidewater dealer in the US,” says owner Paul Zamoyta about this sought-after brand of boats targeted to luxury buyers in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastal regions.
Coastal built a successful history of online outreach, sales and financing
Several years ago, Coastal implemented a comprehensive multimedia strategy in key locations, including ads via radio and print and, most significantly, through advanced digital tactics to target potential customers.
“We work with an agency that specializes in digital strategy and analytics to drive advertising investments and sales,” Paul says, “and we use some alternative boat-related sources, like ads on the Seastreak ferries that operate between New York and New Jersey.”
Coastal’s significant digital presence positioned the business for resilience during the business closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul explains, “We’ve always done most of our sales and financing processes online so, in that way, we were better positioned when everything became virtual. We continued our marketing strategy and made some sales.” He adds, “In terms of timing, we were also fortunate that we’d already gone to the January and February boat shows, which are strong opportunities for us.”
Still, Coastal was impacted by the shutdowns
“Supply-chain disruptions meant that inventory and supplies haven’t been available,” explains Paul. “For example, of the 2,500 or so components in a boat, only about two – the hull and top deck – are made by the boat manufacturers. The rest are outsourced from about a thousand different specialty shops around the U.S. and the world and then put together by the manufacturer. With the pandemic causing business closures around the world, it meant that there weren’t readily available parts to build new boats or to service the boats we had in storage.”
With this challenge, though, came an opportunity.
Paul was determined to keep his full staff of eleven employees with Coastal throughout the closure (he doesn’t scale his staff back during the winter).
However, because the supply-chain disruptions meant that some of his team members couldn’t do their regular work in sales and maintenance, his team quickly pivoted their roles to an emerging opportunity: the supply-chain disruptions and lack of parts through traditional vendors meant that the Coastal team was online and on the phone constantly, scouring the world to find needed parts at other dealers and shops. By doing so, Paul’s team performed essential work and stayed fully employed while providing the stellar, seamless level of customer care that his clients have come to expect from Coastal.
And to help Coastal successfully make this pivot, Paul applied for a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
A Pursuit PPP loan to support his team and keep his business strong
In addition to sales, service and storage, Coastal offers on-the-spot financing (online or onsite). This gives Coastal a significant competitive advantage over other marine-sales businesses – and it also means that Coastal has had strong relationships with a number of commercial banks and lenders for more than a decade.
That’s why Paul was shocked they were unable to help Coastal secure a PPP loan.
“I know lenders were trying to serve a lot of businesses quickly, but with the banking relationships I have and my business’s financial standing, I never thought I’d have a problem getting a PPP loan,” he admits.
It was looking like he wouldn’t secure a PPP loan from his lenders and Paul began to wonder whether he could keep his full team through the pandemic and beyond.
Fortunately, while scrolling through his emails one Sunday morning, a particular email caught his eye.
“Honestly, I don’t even remember exactly where it came from, but it mentioned that Pursuit was helping small businesses get funding, even if they’d been turned down or were having trouble elsewhere,” Paul recalls. “I applied that night and in less than two weeks from start to finish, we had the PPP funds in our account.”
A great experience with Pursuit opens the door for future lending, too
“Everything about working with Pursuit has been great,” Paul says. “I’d filled out several PPP applications before learning about Pursuit and I can tell you, Pursuit made it a breeze. The application form was simple, they contacted me a couple of days later with a few follow-up questions and in another day or two, we were approved. It couldn’t have been easier.”
He enthusiastically says, “Small businesses – the actual small businesses, the ones that drive our communities – that’s who Pursuit funds. And the process is expedient, right to the point.”
Looking ahead, Paul says that when the pandemic is past and Coastal is ready to grow, he’ll definitely go to Pursuit first for funding. “Absolutely, there’s no doubt that Pursuit will be my lender of choice.”