By Christine Graf
Capital Region plastic surgeon, Dr. Edwin Williams III, is the new owner of F.R. Smith and Sons Marina at 36 Sagamore Road in Bolton Landing.
He bought the marina from Robin Smith for $3.5 million on May 27. The Smith family had owned the marina since 1921.
Williams has been vacationing in Lake George since he was in high school. Five years ago, he and his wife purchased a second home—the former Smith family home–in Bolton Landing. It is located adjacent to the marina.
“We knew the marina, and it’s been for sale for about four or five years. I started talking to them about three years ago because I wanted to make sure the marina was preserved,” said Williams. “There’s a lot of development on the lake, and I hear rumors that people think I’m going to knock it down and put condos in. That’s not going to happen.”
After purchasing the marina, Williams met with its employees and assured them their jobs were safe. F.R. Smith employs approximately 20 workers during the summer, and there are a few staff members who are full time and work year round. Two of those employees certified Mercury master mechanics. Scott Olson, former manager at Dockside Landing Marina, will be taking over general manager responsibilities from Scott Anderson
“I couldn’t have done this transaction without his (Anderson’s) help. It was very complicated. I have a great relationship with him and tried to get him to stay, but he put 39 years into that marina,” said Williams. “So we brought on Scott Olson who did a spectacular job running Dockside Marina for 10 years. He’s a real people person and has a ton of experience.”
F.R. Smith is a full service marina and sells both new and used boats as well as Old Town canoes. They are an authorized dealer for popular brands including Avalon, Bryant, and Rinker. Last fall, the marina became an authorized Sea Ray dealer.
“That’s huge. Sea Ray is the number one searched boat on the internet. I think Scott Anderson was working on that for about five years before they finally landed it,” said Williams.
The marina is also licensed to operate 35 rental boats. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was an especially strong year for rentals. Bookings for 2021 are on track to be even better, but boat sales are being hindered by a nationwide inventory shortage of boats.
Boat sales surged in 2020 as people searched for socially-distanced activities to engage in. Industry experts predict that sales will remain strong in 2021 but that inventory shortages will persist.
F.R. Smith also carries an extensive parts inventory and has a qualified staff of mechanics who are able to service many popular brands of boats. Over the years, F.R. Smith has earned a reputation for outstanding service.
“Sales and service go hand in hand, and service has always been the heart of the business. I see a real need for service on the lake. Try to get a boat fixed on Lake George. It’s not easy,” said Williams.
Because the marina does not have a boat storage facility, they are not able to service boats year round. Building a storage facility for boats is on Williams’ priority list and could happen in the next year or so.
“We want to reinvest back in the business, and there’s an opportunity to take it to the next level by providing service year round,” he said. “We have permits for a storage facility to put on Edgecomb Pond Road on top of the hill in Bolton. That will allow us to be able to store boats indoor and pull them out to service them and then put them back.”
Williams is the founder of Williams Center, a plastic surgery facility with more than 85 employees. He also has numerous real estate holdings and does not consider the purchase of the marina to be a risky investment.
For more information, visit www.frsmithandsonsmarina.com.