Go behind the scenes at Culver Marina and Maxinkuckee Board Shop with Gary Aker Jr., Co-owner and Vice President.
3000 East Shore Dr.
Culver, IN 46511
1. When did you start your business? The Culver Marina has been on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana since 1953. We purchased the business from a third-generation family in 2004.
2. Do you consider the location of your shop a key factor to the business’s success? Yes, our location is great because you can drive your boat up to the dock gas up, get a beverage or lunch at the BoardWalk Bar & Grill then dip into the Boat Showroom to check out the new MasterCrafts. Then head to the Board Shop to get some new wake gear. We offer SUP, kayak, and pontoon rentals. We also spend a lot of time on the water with wakeboarding and wakesurfing lessons. So there is a lot of reasons to come to the marina and having lake access is key. Staff is another key to our success. Along with a strong Boardshop and wakeboarding staff, we have Corey Tyler heading up the service department and he is a Yamaha Certified Master Tech.
3. What product/boat is selling best these days? What products do you carry? MasterCraft X-25 is one of our more popular models this year. And it is our boat of choice for lessons. We also do very well with Bennington Pontoons, Harris Pontoons, Lund, Yamaha Waverunners, and Hobie kayaks. In the Board Shop we are gaining a lot of interest in SUP’s. We are stocking Starboards, Hobie, and Imagine with Starboards being the most popular. We also hit a home run with EMAD Electric Skateboards! The Dirtrider and the Sidewalk Surfer are neck and neck in units sold. The kids Pavement Pounder is also selling well. We always enjoy selling the Hyperlite, Ronix and O’brien products. Wakesurfers are always a top seller. On the Women’s side, we sell all types of summer wear, swim suits, cover ups and much more. Our Women’s section is very popular.
4. Where do you see your shop in 5-10 years from now? The shop will probably be about the same, however we have plans to upgrade the property. A System 2.0 would be a nice addition. And we don’t have an online shop yet so that’s a possibility.
5. Who is your average buyer? We see the whole spectrum however beginner wakeboarders and wakesurfers along with recreational boaters make up the typical buyer.
6. What is the dumbest question a customer has ever asked? It’s too hard to pick just one, but remember we have a bar at the marina, so we can get some very interesting questions and comments.
7. What is the craziest return a customer has ever tried to make? Prop damaged mainlines. Happens usually 2 or 3 times a season.
8. Does your store support any local athletes or have a team? We sponsor a few shop riders and an IU Ski Team member, Zak Sheldon. JD Showley is our in-house pro. He is also the head coach of Maxinkuckee’s Wakeboard and Wakesurfing Lessons.
9. How many days a week do you ride now compared to before you owned a shop? About the same.. We try to get out two or three times a week. We get lots of time on the water during lessons too.
10. Who is your favorite wakeboarder/wakeskater and why? Byerly. Scott was the first rider with a skate style background. All grommets should check out the video Retrospect!
11. Every store has to deal with shoplifting. What is your most memorable experience and what is your shoplifting policy? We had some teenagers steal a lap top and some clothes. We called the cops and they were found and arrested. If you steal you go to jail.
12. Tell us one of the craziest shop stories you can remember? We held the XStar Pro Am Rail Jam in 2008. Parks, Shane, Rusty, Zane, Trevor Hansen and Kyle Alberts were the pro riders. They put on an awesome show, and followed it up with a rail jam at the marina by Step Up Productions. Needless to say the after party was a good time. We still have customers talking about that event. You can see a video of the highlights on our YouTube channel.
13. Does your store carry any products that make it unique to other wake shops in your area? We have a skate section including longboards. Also EMAD Electric Skateboards and SUP’s. I have to mention our clothing section….Quiksilver, Roxy, Billibong, Reef, Sanuk, and Athena are just a few of the brands.
14. How significant is the benefit to you that your store could be featured in TransWorld WAKEBOARDING magazine? Very significant! Recognition from TransWorld is the pinnacle of exposure for the shop. It’s something we are all proud of. TransWorld‘s standards are the industry’s best and we are honored to be considered!