Family-Owned Lake Norman Dealership Celebrates 30 Years!
Happy 30th anniversary Talley’s Pier 77 Marine, and owners Bill & Sara Talley, and congratulations on consistently being in the Top 10 for Regal Customer Service … worldwide! The accomplishment just shows what you can do with a true love of boating shared by a family dedicated to customer service. To be in the Top 10 – once being #1 – means their Customer Service Index never drops below 99 percent.
When asked how it feels to have been in business for 30 years Sara Talley commented that sons Billy and Joey were only two years old when they opened the dealership in 1986. “I see the length of time more in them than me,” she laughed. “If you were to ask Bill this question, I am sure he would say “I am ready for the boys to continue for the next 30 years!”
Bill’s initial plan for his business was as “an auto dealership selling and repairing specialty collectors’ cars.” When seeing his prime location on I-77 at exit 28, a friend asked if he could put a few boats on the lot. When the boats seemed to be selling better than the cars, it was a sign to the Talleys that they should be in the boat business. After all, Bill bought a boat before he bought a car, having grown up knowing that boating is a family activity.
They opened Talley’s Pier 77 Marine in Cornelius, NC, in 1986. They now have two facilities, the original on Statesville Road and a second service location at Kings Point Marina. Sons Billy and Joey are now a very active part of the family business. Their goal is complete customer satisfaction in both sales and service.
From the service department, Joey explains that, as a dealer, they emphasize the importance of proper maintenance and service, which work to protect their customer’s boating investment. “My Dad put up a sign in the Service Department 30 years ago that says We Do It Right Or We Won’t Do It At All. That sign is still on the wall and that will continue to be our policy” says Joey.
The Talleys feel strongly that “boating is one of the best activities a family can do together” to enrich their lives, and strive to provide their customers with a positive boating experience.
In 2002, the Talleys had a chance to become a Regal dealership and knew it was a great opportunity. Regal Boats, manufactured in Orlando, Florida, is also a family-owned company, founded by Paul and Carol Kuck in 1969. The have passed away, but their children, Duane, Tim and Pam, carry on their parents’ belief in innovation, service and customer satisfaction. That works out well, since those same ideals are shared by the Talleys. The principals of both companies, Talley’s and Regal, also regard their employees as a part of their families.
When asked how things at Regal have changed with the generations, Billy states, “Not much has changed in our relationship with the second generation as new management.” Sara sees the next generation management, which is the third, as “focusing on the needs of younger boaters with products like the new surf series, the 2100 and 2300 RX Surf.” (Billy had the opportunity to test the 2300 RX Surf in December. “I was surprised at how cold the water was in Orlando in December, but the experience was well worth it!”)
Most importantly, however, the generations are working together to produce products that will provide customers with the ultimate boating experience. Likewise, the two generations at Talley’s are working together to deliver products and services with the same ultimate boating assurance.
At Regal, the Kuck family started by building a 17’ tri-hull, a 14’ ski boat and 21’ cuddy model. The energy crisis in 1973 was a huge setback for them but they persevered, vowing to reinvent innovation and customer service. It seems they had the knack for doing exactly that. The Regal line now includes bow riders from 19 to 32 feet, cuddies from 22 to 26 feet, deck boats from 22 to 27 feet, express cruisers from 26 to 32 feet and sport coupes from 36 to 53 feet. In 2008, they added 135,000 square feet to their manufacturing facility.
Regal’s construction was another key for Talley’s being a Regal dealer: quality is of utmost importance. A Master Builder Program at Regal has created a core group of specialists critical to the company’s success. Not only are they master craftsmen but they also mentor other workers, passing along their knowledge. They understand the importance of team bonding, safety and family since they translate to “increased quality and consistency to the highest standards.”
The manufacturer’s innovative successes include the 1995 introduction of the patented FasTrac hull that improves overall performance by reducing friction and drag. Regal designs each FasTrac hull specifically for each model. The FasTrac hull is made up of five key elements designed to improve ride in rough water as well as overall performance. A full beam step at the midship of the hull reduces surface tension to improve fuel efficiency and increases cruise and top speeds using the same or less horse power than traditional hull designs.
Regal also incorporates a deep V hull to improve the ride in rough water along with extended running surfaces to assist in planing, overstated lifting strakes to create more lift, and reversed chines for tight, controlled cornering. All of these together makes this hull so special. Newer innovations include Regal’s Surf System powered by Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive and controlled by RegalVue, regulating speed and wave action for each board rider; an Ultralounge; and a convertible hardtop.
Regal has a Dealer Factory Showroom which displays every Regal model from the 19’ Bowrider to the 53’ Sport Coupe. One can take a factory tour and see the care that is built into every model. Prospective buyers can go online to the “Design Your Regal” program where you can select the color, the engine, cockpit options from tables and flooring to upholstery, transom flooring, deck lights or underwater lighting, and entertainment and navigation choices.
Being exclusively Regal in their Sport Boat and Cruiser lines, Talley’s is able to offer a selection of models to choose from. Sara says “our goal is to assist in finding the right model to meet the family’s boating needs and desires.”
When asked which models were more popular this past year, Billy said, sales of the 3200 and the 2800 Bowrider “were strong.” “These models offer everything a boater is looking for,” he said. The 2300 and 2500 Bowriders were popular models as well. As far as cruisers, the Regal 35 Sport Coupe was a hit. “In our Godfrey Pontoon line, the Sanpan 2500 Wet Bar was one of the most popular models.”
What does the future hold? Billy thinks “the trend in customer choice of sports boats and runabouts will continue.” Regal has introduced several new models for 2016 which includes a 22 FasDeck, 2100 RX Surf, 2300 RX Surf, and a 23’ and 29’ outboard model.
The Talleys have seen many changes in the boating industry over the past 30 years. One thing they know won’t change is their focus on their customers. “We know we have a great product so we focus on service. From sales to service, we want to make sure that our customer’s experience is the best.”
“Market share is important,” Sara explained, “but frankly, we’d rather have the highest market share in satisfied customers than in volume. Customer satisfaction is the most important focus for our family and it will continue to be so for the next 30+ years.”
Billy, Joey, Sara and Bill Talley