45 Years at HMY: A Look at How Far We’ve Come — And Where We’re Headed

45 Years at HMY: A Look at How Far We’ve Come — And Where We’re Headed

By HMY Contributor   April 16, 2024

To have successfully endured four and a half decades of doing business is a milestone worth celebrating. But to also genuinely enjoy those years while making meaningful memories along the way — one might think it an impossible feat.

HMY Yacht Sales turned 44 years old in November of 2023 and is approaching our 45th anniversary in November of 2024. 

And yet, it’s a reality our founder and many of our veteran team members have delighted in firsthand. Throughout our 44 years in business, HMY has blossomed as much more than just a thriving company, but a family bound together by a shared passion for all things boating.

From our humble houseboat beginnings to becoming one of the largest and exclusive yacht brokerage companies in the U.S., here’s a look into the journey that has spanned nearly half a century.

Getting Started: A Houseboat & Some Dock Slips

For a company that deals in watercraft of varying sizes, it seems fitting that our origin story should be set on none other than a houseboat. Situated on the New River in Fort Lauderdale in 1979, the first HMY offices sat above a floating hair salon, with the chatter of clients and perm chemicals often drifting upwards. Along the docks out front, our founder Steve Moynihan leased several slips to display pre-owned boats — and that’s where it all began.

This photo showcases the early stages of the HMY team in the 1990s. Our team has grown exponentially and continues to grow to this day! Featured in this image is Yvonne Reeves who is an integral part of the HMY family. Yvonne is a brokerage administrator who has been with us for 28 years. As a brokerage administrator, Yvonne is responsible for ensuring a smooth sales transaction for everyone involved.

But 1979 was important for another reason: it was the year Steve met his wife, Faith, kindling a self-described “love at first sight” story that would shape the family-oriented nature with which HMY still operates to this day.

Doing “The Right Thing” with the Right People

While HMY originally had three founders, two parted ways shortly after forming the company. Steve stayed the course with Faith’s support, eventually partnering with Willis “Doc” Austin, who ran HMY with him for 24 years until his untimely passing.

Several years after it was founded, Director of Sales Tim Derrico joined HMY in a sales role, and hit the ground running. He sold two Viking yachts within his first week, and the momentum hasn’t slowed since. All the while, the business of HMY grew, with branches opening in Deerfield Beach and eventually, far beyond to our total of 13 locations — from the northern reaches of Newport, RI all the way to the Florida Keys.

Newport, Rhode Island

Ocean Reef

The philosophy we’ve maintained throughout this growth is simple: “Take care of people,” says Tim. “Bring in the best people that you can find, and teach them how to take care of people. Always do the right thing, and it just starts to continually pay off.” With Steve and Faith at the helm, we’ve always had examples of what it means to not just simply say these words, but to truly enact them each day.

So, what does it mean to take care of people in our business? Jeff Creary, the first company captain at HMY (who has been with us since 1987), explains, “Customer service is so important. Build a relationship. Be available.”

Indeed, our goal first and foremost is always to establish and nurture relationships. From aiding in relief efforts after natural disasters, to offering concierge service to those in need, we take care of people, and we believe this is a major part of what keeps customers coming back. The majority of our sales come from repeat clients, and we’re always delighted to see returning faces.

It’s always been our belief that operating well relies on treating people right behind the scenes, too. “People who work at HMY stay here a long time,” explains Tim. And seeing how their loved ones have thrived here has even drawn new generations into the HMY family. Jeff, for example, is happy to work alongside his daughter and fellow HMY broker, Lexie Creary. Like her father before her, we hope she and many others will have fulfilling, decades-long tenures on our team.

In addition to Lexie and Jeff Creary, HMY has another set of top-producing family members - Jack and Forrest Robertson. Forrest has shared an interest in the boating industry since he was young. He says, “I knew my true interest was in the boating industry which eventually led me to HMY where my Father has worked since 1997. Today my father and I work side by side and the relationships with the customers have grown even stronger as we can both complement each other through the evolution of the deal or the service after the sale.”  Together, Jack and Forrest strive to maintain their current relationships and form new ones while representing the HMY name.

Strategizing, Our Way

While our people-first focus has been woven into the fabric of HMY since our start in the 1970s, having a strategic vision has also been key to our success. Jeff explains that the three-pillar business model of offering new sales, brokerage sales, and service was a concept Steve held for years, and persevered with despite encountering numerous obstacles. But, holding true to the importance of relationships, these decisions have all been made with the boating community in mind. Recognizing the vision for brands like Nimbus, Eclipse, and Two Oceans, also came down to a matter of reflecting on what boaters want and need.

And though our strategy meetings may look a bit different from that of other corporations — our “board meetings” take place outdoors and not in an executive office — HMY stays at the forefront of the industry by bringing everyone together, getting the pulse of what’s going on, and helping each other out. Holding twice-weekly sales meetings is another simple but effective strategy that has continued to keep us connected and serve us, and our clients, well.   

Embracing Shifting Tides

A final but important element we’ve carried with us since day one: a forward-focused vision that allows us to deftly navigate change. Some aspects of HMY will remain constant – our commitment to our people, for instance — but an adaptive, growth-oriented mindset has always propelled us forward, too.

Jason Norcross, one of our Sales Managers, explains that for many organizations, keeping pace with a world that’s revolving rapidly can be challenging. But, “At HMY,” he says, “it’s spinning faster inside.” From opening new offices to expanding our lineup of world-class brands, we’ve indeed enjoyed a major transformation since our inception in the 1970s. HMY proudly offers new boats from Viking Yachts, Valhalla Boatworks, Princess Yachts, Nimbus, Two Ocean Power Catamarans, and ECLIPSE.  We’ve not merely adapted to the changing nature of boating — we’ve innovated our own change at the same time. And we have no intention of stopping. 

If you’re looking to become a part of the growing family of HMY clients, explore our extensive range of yachts for sale. And we’re excited to show you what’s coming up in the near future, too.

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