Jacksonville’s thriving Freedom Boat Club celebrates rank as one of nation’s largest |
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JACKSONVILLE – It’s a timeless expression, indicating good fortune or unqualified success: Your boat has come in. In the case of the local affiliate of the Freedom Boat Club, it would be more accurate to say: The fleet has come in.
Freedom Boat Club of Jacksonville, struggling to stay afloat when it was purchased by Lisa Almeida and Kevin Seelig in 2011, had a scant four boats and 40 members at the time. Now, the club has more boats than many nations have in their navies.
This past week, at Freedom Boat Club’s annual 20 group meeting in Sarasota, Florida, Almeida and Seelig were officially notified that they are operating the fourth largest franchise in a network that spans more than 117 cities.
“It is an amazing story,” said Freedom Boat Club President John Giglio. “Thanks to the vision and leadership of Lisa and Kevin, our Jacksonville Franchise has become a national model of success.
The three largest Freedom Boat Club franchises are in Sarasota, Tampa and Boston.
Shortly after purchasing the Jacksonville club, based at Julington Creek Marina, Almeida and Seelig added a St. Augustine location, based at Camachee Cove. They oversee a rapidly growing operation that has 58 boats and 560 members. (For the record: Australia has 47 ships in its navy; Spain has 46.)
“Kevin and I were thrilled to know how big we have gotten in the Freedom Boat Club network,” said Almeida. “We have outpaced all our business goals and projections. It seems like we are constantly buying new boats and adding members.”
Almeida, a local media favorite who is widely known as “Lisa the Boatanista,” was honored as Jacksonville’s up and coming businesswoman of the year in 2014, and was recognized as a distinguished graduate of Flagler College, earning its Professional Achievement Award in 2015. Almeida and Seelig also support various charitable organizations in the Jacksonville area.
“We not only want to operate a successful business but we also want to give back to this community as well,” Almeida said. “We are very grateful for the support from our members as well as the Jacksonville business community.”
Freedom Boat Club, founded in 1989 in Venice, Fla., is the nation’s oldest and largest boating club. It has experienced a steady growth in membership based on its model of offering affordable, hassle-free boating for a simple monthly fee.
Members not only have a choice of multiple boats at each location but avoid the typical frustrations associated with boat ownership: maintenance, repair, storage, cleaning, towing trailers, etc.
For more information, call or go to freedomboatclub.com