Photography by Drew blaSer
As the largest boating center in Polk County, Marine Supply not only offers services but also an experience that reminds customers why it’s great to live on the lakes.
The history behind Marine Supply can be traced back over three generations. In 1952, Gerald Emry first started this family-owned business as a simple bait shop. Emry and his family have always held a deep passion for lake life and spent most of their time on the water. Living on the beloved Chain of Lakes became a part of their family’s identity.
“My whole family has grown up loving the water and living on the Chain of Lakes,” says Tricia Gurr, Emry’s granddaughter and current co-owner of Marine Supply.
Over six decades, this small homegrown business still continues as a family-owned marina as Emry’s son, Richard, and grandchildren David Emry and Tricia Gurr, currently assume ownership of this successful Florida marina. “Because when you grow up with it, it’s kind of in your blood,” says Gurr.
The business has evolved greatly over the years, adapting to the needs of its market. Since starting out as a bait shop and boat rental business, Marine Supply now functions as a full-service boating dealership offering the latest innovations in boating technology. Gurr emphasizes that as they have grown, they have paid significant attention to the needs of their customers to offer the best quality service to anyone who walks through their doors.
Today, Marine Supply offers an extensive boat collection, including the full line of Mercury, Yamaha, and Evinrude. In fact, they are Polk County’s only certified engine dealer to include these brands. This includes new and used parts, with a complete accessory inventory to accommodate all boating needs. Their boat selections also include Sweetwater pontoons, Hurricane deck boats, Tidewater bay boats, and Alumacraft.
Marine Supply also offers storage options. Their facility, made up of over 250 high-and-dry boat slips, helps to alleviate some of the hassle that may come from maintaining a boat. Storage is available for boats up to 27 feet in length, and the storage facility is open seven days a week. Along with providing storage, Marine Supply’s staff is also available to put customers’ boats in the water for them, add oil and non-ethanol gas, and unload and restoreat the end of a day on the lake. “We really try to be the whole answer to our customers,” says Gurr.
“We really do feel that, for a first-time boater, boating can change your life.”
In addition to their extensive inventory, Marine Supply also offers boat rentals. With many snowbirds flocking to Florida in the cooler months, this makes an ideal option for those wanting to get on the water without the full commitment of a purchase. Marine Supply goes above and beyond simply offering a rental option. All of their employees intend for you to feel confident while on the water and will always go out of their way to show customers how to handle their boat.
The rapid growth of Marine Supply cannot only be credited to their wide variety of products and services. What has really helped retain customers and make new ones feel welcomed is the friendly and highly knowledgeable staff. “We offer such a broad range of experience and knowledge between our employees which really helps our customers,” says Gurr.
Marine Supply is made up of well over 100 years of combined experience with employees who have been fishing and working on boats their entire lives. This gives customers the opportunity to not only come and make a purchase, but also to ask questions and better understand the parts that make up their boating experience.
Growing up in the marine business, Gurr desires to pass on the experience of boating that she and her family grew up with. “We really do feel that, for a first-time boater, boating can change your life,” she says. In a world that is more connected than ever, being on the lake provides an opportunity for family and friends to disconnect from the world and spend quality time with each other. “By adding a boat in your life, you get out on the water, and the kids aren’t on their phones. There’s no screen. You are basically changing the whole family dynamic and providing a way for everybody to enjoy nature together,” says Gurr.
Those new to boating can easily take advantage of such experiences, too. “You don’t have to be an expert,” says Gurr. Boating is an experience that is available to anyone and everyone, and those intimidated in tackling a new terrain should not be afraid. “You can literally drive around the edge of our lakes and find the canal. It’s very easy for somebody who’s inexperienced to get into boating,” says Gurr.
Gurr and her family have been encouraged by the continued growth of the lake community. “Every weekday, every weekend, there are just more and more boats out there. It’s exciting to see it grow,” she says.
Marine Supply offers innovative boating technology, accommodating rental options, and expert staff in order to meet all boating needs. Whether a novice or a seasoned boater, Marine Supply offers products and services that make outdoor living an enjoyable experience.
717 6th Street SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880
863.293.1156 | marinesupplyboats.com