Buckeye Lake Marina, 2920 Canal Drive in Millersport and located directly on the lake, has weathered its share of storms in the past, but nothing like the financial storm of uncertainty after the announcement in March of 2015 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers that the lake would be scheduled for a rebuild project for a failing dam. As this action would essentially leave the lake unusable for most summer activities, Dave Levacy and his staff at Buckeye Lake Marina turned to their creative intuition and an extraordinary Heartland Bank partnership to ride out a storm that would hit them from multiple fronts.
Dave had a history with the marina dating back to 1970, and he wasn’t about to go down with the ship. He had devoted 20 years to the marina before purchasing it in 1990, and his business acumen told him that his employees, his livelihood and his community dedication depended on his ability to adjust his business model, tighten his belt, and search for answers when he wasn’t even sure what the questions were. Buckeye Lake Marina was poised to be an example of strength, determination and the will to survive.
They began evaluating their sales and looked for ways to cut expenses but retain current staffing. After some temporary adjustments to expenses, they reviewed their sales and quickly determined that a majority of their sales were not from local lake traffic. Their website sales were strong, and if resources were devoted to this specific area, Buckeye Lake Marina might just survive a slowdown at their lake-side facility. “I didn’t think there was any way we could stay in business because I thought we were totally reliant upon having water. But with a little research and looking at our numbers, we found that about 60% of our boat sales were not on this lake. Consequently, we expanded our outreach as far as internet sales, and we were able to expand into out-of-state markets,” stated Dave.
“We always had income from the water, which we lost, but we cut expenses and made tough decisions. I met with Scott McComb (Chairman, President and CEO of Heartland Bank) and we worked together on a program. I have a great relationship with the staff at Heartland Bank with a friendship that dates back nearly 50 years to Scott’s father, Tiney McComb,” added Dave. Brian Fracker, Donna Holycross, Randy Kelly and Marlise Hitchens have also worked closely with Dave over the years, providing a successful working arrangement.
According to Marlise Hitchens, Commercial Relationship Manager at Heartland Bank in Newark, “Working with the Levacy Family and the staff at Buckeye Lake Marina has been so rewarding. Their dedication to the Buckeye Lake community and to their customers makes me proud to be a part of their team! I’m really looking forward to continuing our relationship for years to come.”
“Not only did we make it through, we doubled our business,” admitted Dave. With Heartland’s help, the marina recently purchased another 23 acres, and now they are in the process of building storage facilities for boats for the winter. Dave is concentrating on the cash flow as his business expertise has grown exponentially as a result of the dam project. Currently, they store nearly 500 boats for the winter, provide complete marine service and offer a custom canvas shop.
Heartland Bank can be a valuable partner for your business and personal financial needs – we won’t leave you high and dry! We offer 15 local branch offices for your convenience.