Whether it’s commercial lending, banking, or point of sale, Chesapeake Bank wants your business operations and relationship with us to be smooth sailing. That’s how it has happened for Swords Marine Service (SMS) in Mathews, VA.
“We first dealt with Chesapeake when we bought our business property. There was a great delay getting a commitment on a mortgage from two other banks,” says Owner Bob Swords. “Per the instruction of our attorney, I met with Commercial Lender, Steve Callis. We had a verbal commitment in a day. The rest of the process went smoothly through closing.”
Swords Marine and Crew:
Bob and his wife, Janet, purchased the property in 2013 but had been in business as a mobile boat repair service, operating from their yellow truck, since 2010. They briefly rented a space in Gloucester before buying the site where their business is now located on 5331 Buckley Hall Road.
SMS provides parts, service, and repairs for powerboats and motors. They also sell and install marine electronics, boat accessories, and new Mercury Outboard motors. If you’re not a boat person, Mercury (located in Wisconsin) is the only American-made company of the four major boat manufacturers [Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda].
Janet and Bob’s son, Bobby, began helping part-time in 2011 and joined the team fully in 2013. The SMS staff is now up to eight. Technicians are certified by American Boat and Yacht Council, Mercury Marine, Garmin, and Tohatsu Outboards.
“Training is a big deal for us, and we try to make sure that everyone has it,” says Bob. “Technology is always changing, and with computer diagnostics, you can’t ever have too much.”
Troubled waters in the digital boater world–why buying local matters.
In fact, computers and warrantees are where many folks get into trouble when it comes to buying boat parts.
“Often boaters will find ‘deals’ online for the same items we sell in our store,” says Bob. “What they are missing out on is the technical and application information that only an experienced boat shop can provide.”
Additionally, manufacturers won’t always honor the warranty if the item wasn’t purchased from an authorized distributor, like us. “It’s caused real heartache for people,” adds Bobby. “Things are different when you can walk in and let us help you.”
The team says that in most cases, even special-order parts and accessories are available within one business day without shipping charges.
As for Mathews:
They love being a part of the community and having their own shop. “When we first moved in, people would stop in to see what we were doing with the place and they all had positive comments. It was a real delight,” says Bob.
And with COVID, they weren’t sure they were going to make it, but they are grateful that boating and recreational industries blossomed. “All of the sudden, people were stuck at home, so they began fixing boats that had been sitting around,” says Bob. Of course shipping delays, experienced across the nation, were affecting some of the more common boating items. “But we’re trying to stockpile those now,” says Bob.
One of the most meaningful projects they’ve worked on together was a boat custom-built on Gwynn’s Island. When the owner passed, his son inherited it, and Swords refurbished it. “It was special to be a part of his project.” Says Bobby.
Anchored at Chesapeake Bank.
Since the initial loan in 2013, Swords has moved all of their banking over to Chesapeake. “It’s refreshing to have a person that answers the phone at the branch and either resolves your issue on the spot or gets you to someone who will,” says Bob. “This holds true within all of their divisions.”
Even when their credit card terminal went out, they are happy to report our Chesapeake Payment Systems team came out to replace it the same day. “We didn’t lose any business because of the issue, and that’s what we like–working with companies that operate the same way do,” says Bobby.
Most recently, the team has moved from a standard credit card terminal to a complete Point of Sale system for orders and credit card processing. Gina works at the front desk, and she said it has made ordering and invoicing so much easier. “Before this, we double-keyed everything, to get the part into the computer and then again to enter the credit card. Now everything is in one place.”
Gina also said that this wouldn’t have been possible if our Team Lead and Merchant Services Support Technician, Joe Mayfield , hadn’t uploaded their main supplier catalog into the system. “It was thousands upon thousands of part and SKU numbers for a variety of boats,” adds Bobby. “Joe is awesome and we’ll leave it at that. Anything we need–he makes happen.”
The real question is, what can Swords Marine or Chesapeake do for you?
Mention this article when you place your order with Swords and receive an additional 10% off the price of Mercury Marine and Quicksilver lubricants and oil filters for customer carry out through 12/31/21.