When Tom Byrne was a kid, he had a part time job at Lake Gage Marina. “I swept floors, took out the trash and helped mechanics on service calls, amongst other various things, from age 11 until I was 16 or 17. I made $1.10 an hour,” he recalls fondly.
What he didn’t know at that time was that three decades later he’d buy the company, renaming it The Marina at Lake Gage.
“It’s always been about the community for me. When I bought The Marina, the plan was to sell candy for the kids and all the other little things that used to bring people into the stores on Lake Gage,” says Byrne. “Then we quickly found a niche in higher-end boat sales.”
The original store along the lake still features a candy corner, but also sells fuel, Lake Gage apparel, Vera Bradley merchandise, drinks and smoothies. In 2013, General Manager Craig Parys joined the team and that same year he helped open a new showroom on Orland Road in Angola. Displayed there are new Chris-Craft and MasterCraft ski boats as well as Premier pontoons. They recently added Vanderbilt pontoons, a new Fort Wayne-based brand.
The Marina also sells FLOE docks and lifts along with a wide array of parts and accessories.
“We’re more of a boutique-style marina,” explains Parys. “We feel that customer service is huge, especially in today’s world. The customer experience we provide is second-to-none in our area and that’s what brings a lot of customers to us.”
Dr. Doug Gray is one of those loyal customers. “I bought a new boat from them, but they also help me with other boats that I haven’t purchased through them. I own a Boston Whaler, a boat brand they do not carry, and they put a new engine on it. I have a sailboat, too and they sent their crew over to help get it all set up,” he explains.
Gray says the service he receives at The Marina is unparalleled. “I think the real differentiator is the people. They’re always receptive to helping, even if you don’t buy your boat from them. On more than one occasion they’ve taken last-minute calls and helped troubleshoot issues for me. There was a time when our daughter’s friends were visiting from hours away and we discovered the night before their arrival that our boat battery was corroded. Craig had somebody out to us at 8:30 in the morning. They swooped in and saved the day — more like the entire weekend.”
In addition to sales and service, The Marina has storage options as well.
“We put in your watercraft in the spring, get it ready for summer, and then do the opposite in the fall. We winterize it and store it for the winter months,” says Parys. “Our customers know their boats will be well taken care of and they won’t have to worry.”
“I don’t have to do anything; they take care of it all,” Gray stresses. “They get it ready for the boating season, store it and put it back in. All I have to do is let them know the ‘when.’ They work well with the dock people and the guys who install the big lifts with special machines. They’re great communicators.”
Both Byrne and Parys, who spent their childhoods on the lake, remain committed to serving boaters and lake visitors. “We’re very accessible and community-oriented. We have an event center on Lake Gage that the association uses for anything they want. We’ve hosted everything from weddings to graduation parties to barn dances. It just gives everybody a sense of community on a small lake,” Byrne says.
Address: 4340 W. Orland Road, Angola, Indiana 46703
Phone: (260) 833-1717