Fla. group buys sec­ond North East ma­rina



— A Florid­abased in­vest­ment group re­cently bought Shel­ter Cove Yacht Basin & Ma­rina, its sec­ond pur­chase of a North­east River ma­rina in the last few months.

Gala­had Marine Prop­er­ties, headed up by Do­minic Ni­cosia, pur­chased Shel­ter Cove, owned by Woody Jack­son, about a month ago. At the end of Au­gust, Gala­had also pur­chased McDaniel Yacht Basin, a few miles north of Shel­ter Cove,


and is cur­rently work­ing with for­mer owner Tommy Trainer dur­ing a tran­si­tion pe­riod.

Although nei­ther buyer nor seller would re­veal the pur­chase price, records show Shel­ter Cove was listed with Grasso Realty, a well-known ma­rina sales firm, for an ask­ing price of $6.7 mil­lion.

The sale marks a new chap­ter in the lives of both Jack­son and Ni­cosia, who have es­tab­lished a friendly, mu­tual re­spect for one an­other.

For Ni­cosia, the pur­chase brings him and his in­vestors one step closer in the process of ac­quir­ing a net­work of mari­nas with the goal of de­liv­er­ing top-notch cus­tomer ser­vice and sim­i­lar ameni­ties at each prop­erty. At the same time, cus­tomers will have ac­cess to all of the prop­er­ties un­der Gala­had’s own­er­ship.

The group ex­pects to set­tle on a third ma­rina pur­chase in the lower Ch­e­sa­peake Bay in Vir­ginia around Dec. 3.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing times for us,” Ni­cosia said last week.

For Jack­son, the sale means he can spend more time with his wife, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. In his spare time, he may be­gin an in­tern­ship pro­gram for young peo­ple in­ter­ested in marine trades.

But, Jack­son wants ev­ery­one to know he’s not go­ing any­where for a while.

Jack­son and Ni­cosia have agreed to work to­gether dur­ing a tran­si­tion pe­riod of up to two years to al­low Jack­son to sell the boat in­ven­tory that he has al­ready ac­quired. Mean­while, Ni­cosia will be pur­chas­ing new in­ven­tory as the ex­ist­ing is sold off.

“He’s al­ready been a tremen­dous help,” Ni­cosia said of Jack­son.

Af­ter 45 years in the marine busi­ness, Jack­son said his cus­tomers and his as­so­ciates are very im­por­tant to him, which is an­other rea­son he’s stay­ing around for a while.

“I re­ally feel good about the sale,” he added. “It was time.”

Nei­ther of Woody and Ch­eryl Jack­son’s two sons, David and Mark, are in­ter­ested in tak­ing over the ma­rina and boat sales.

“They each have their own ca­reers,” Jack­son said.

Once the de­ci­sion was made, Jack­son said he never looked back.

Ni­cosia, on the other hand, was look­ing to start a new busi­ness.

“In­ter­est rates are low and gas prices are sta­ble, it’s the

right time to do this,” he said. “We looked at about 200 prop­er­ties be­fore set­tling here.”

Ni­cosia noted that ne­go­ti­a­tions on each of the two re­cent pur­chases took about one year to com­plete.

The new owner will keep the staff and names of Shel­ter Cove and Jack­son Marine Sales for mar­ket­ing pur­poses — with one small ad­di­tion of a Gala­had logo to the sig­nage. That’s sim­i­lar to what they did with signs at McDaniel Yacht Basin.

In the four weeks since the sec­ond pur­chase, both men agreed that tran­si­tion­ing the staffs from both mari­nas has been a bit chal­leng­ing.

“We’ve been com­peti­tors for years,” Jack­son said of the neigh­bor­ing McDaniel Yacht Basin. “Now, we’re teach­ing the staff a ‘we’ men­tal­ity, not the ‘we’ ver­sus ‘them’ men­tal­ity.”

Ni­cosia said they’ve started re­fer­ring to McDaniel as the North Dock and to Shel­ter Cove as the South Dock.

“We have weekly staff meet­ing that ro­tate be­tween the two lo­ca­tions,” Ni­cosia said.

Jack­son said he thinks the tran­si­tion has gone in­cred­i­bly smooth so far, at­tribut­ing some of the ease to the fact that the old and new own­ers share a sim­i­lar phi­los­o­phy about cus­tomer ser­vice and work.

Ni­cosia promised a few changes, but they will be well thought out in ad­vance, he said.

Be­tween the two mari­nas now un­der Gala­had own­er­ship and man­age­ment, there are about 380 ex­ist­ing slips, lots of boats stor­age, ship’s stores and re­pair and sales of­fices.

“We prob­a­bly have about 25 to 30 full-time em­ploy­ees at the two lo­ca­tions,” Ni­cosia said.

Jack­son, who started in the boat busi­ness in Lan­caster, Pa., with his fa­ther, pur­chased Shel­ter Cove Yacht Basin and Ma­rina in 1976.

Over the years, he has made a lot of mem­o­ries in North East and Ce­cil County dur­ing his time as a busi­ness owner in the com­mu­nity — some bad and some good.

Jack­son re­called ex­cit­ing times like when Jack­son Marine Sales was named the No. 1 dealer of Chris Craft boats in the world in 1989. Jack­son has that mo­ment memo­ri­al­ized in a pho­to­graph taken at the awards ban­quet with him­self sur­rounded by celebri­ties like at­tor­ney F. Lee Bai­ley, TV per­son­al­ity Ed McMa­hon and Alexan­der Haig, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State un­der Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.

But there’s also been a few times he’d like to for­get, such as the large fire that swept through one of the build­ings on the ma­rina prop­erty in 1989 and did an es­ti­mated $1.5 mil­lion in dam­age, in­clud­ing burn­ing sev­eral boats.

And then there’s the time Hur­ri­cane Is­abel dropped waist-deep wa­ter all over the prop­erty in 2003. Jack­son has worked through pe­ri­ods of ex­tremely high gas prices and high in­ter­est rates as well.

“Through the years, I’ve learned that Amer­i­cans re­ally do cher­ish their leisure time,” Jack­son said, not­ing they find a way to carve out time for it.

Ni­cosia is look­ing for­ward to the fu­ture in the marine busi­ness.

“I see it on a steady growth pat­tern,” he said.


Do­minic Ni­cosia, of Gala­had Marine Prop­er­ties, re­cently pur­chased Shel­ter Cover Yacht Basin & Ma­rina from Woody Jack­son.

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