From the Flybridge #9 – Meet the Moynihans
The year is 1979. You hit the road in your VW Bug and head down to Florida, leaving Alabama in your rearview mirror. At 19 years old, the world is your oyster. You didn’t know at the time, but shortly after you would meet the love of your life and start a yacht brokerage business - all within six months. Your first office is a houseboat shared with a hairdresser who does perms more often than your nostrils would like. Fast forward 42 years and your yacht brokerage firm is now one of the largest and most successful in the country. You sit back at the Pirate’s Cove Resort & Marina with a cigar and think, “What’s next?”
Join us as we re-live the events that brought HMY Yacht Sales to life and get a glimpse into what is still on the horizon.
Here is a preview of the podcast below. For the whole episode, click here.
Alexie Creary: However, HMY and the Moynihans measure success in a very different way. Isn't that true?
Steve Moynihan: Well, we're fortunate that through the years, 40 plus years, we've always had a profitable enterprise. That comes from surrounding ourselves with the right people and creating long-term relationships with our industry partners, our trading partners, our financial partners, our legal team, the accounting people that we use. All those relationships stretch into the 30, 40-year range right now. That's something I'm very proud of. And through those relationships comes an ongoing enterprise in a profitable company. And we expect that that's going to happen.
Alexie Creary: Alright. We're talking big numbers and long-term relationships and what's most important, but it hasn't always been this way. Take us back in time to the beginning. Let’s talk about the history of HMY. When did HMY come to life? What was day one?
Steve Moynihan: Day 1 was November 1, 1979. And we had a little three-room houseboat on the New River in Fort Lauderdale at a place called Marina Bay. That was the first office.
Faith Moynihan: It had a hairdresser on the first floor. You had to go up a winding staircase to get to the second floor where the office is, The HMY offices really were. So, we would check to make sure there were no perms that were going to be done. If we had somebody important coming in to look at boats or talk about boats because of the smell.
Alexie Creary: You could smell the hairdresser downstairs?
Faith Moynihan: You could smell the perms and you could hear the chatter. You knew what was going on in all their lives.
Alexie Creary: So, you didn't bring in the heavy hitters on perm day.
Steve Moynihan Tried not to.
But that was our first office and we had dockage right outside the front and we leased a couple of slips to be able to display preowned boats. And that's how we started in 1979.
‘79 was a big year for me. In March of 79, I met Faith. We met through a mutual friend. And the first minute I laid eyes on her, I was hooked. It's not a stretch to say that it was love at first sight. But I had really good eyesight at that time, and Faith’s eyesight wasn't quite as good as mine.
Faith Moynihan: I asked you if you were going to marry me on our first date.
Alexie Creary: Wow. You came in hot.
Steve Moynihan: At the Southport Raw Bar.
Alexie Creary: What did he say?
Faith Moynihan: He said, Yes, I think I am. I said, Okay, I'll have another beer. Let’s get this celebration started.
Steve Moynihan: ‘79 was a big year, and we started our advertising and marketing program. We were always big into that, even back then. And through a couple of short-lived relationships with the original partners, we got to 1984 and collaborated with a guy named Willis Austin, Doc Austin. Doc was a client and friend of mine from the 70s, from 1978, actually. And so, by 1984, we were in business together. And until his untimely passing, we ran the HMY together for about 24 years.
And after that, we kept the business going and kept the expansion going. It was Doc that opened the second office that we had. We went all the way from Fort Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach. Anybody who knows where that is knows it's only about 30 miles. That's a stretch. But we did have a second office just so we could expand our territories. In 1984, with Doc coming on board, we vaulted into the new boat business and that was business that we were really excited about and continue to be excited about today as a new boat dealer for some of the greatest products in the world. It's made us a totally different company. We've been a Viking dealer for almost 30 years and a Princess dealer since ‘96 and recently started selling the Valhalla product and the OKEAN product, which were importing. And it's made us a very well rounded and provided a lot of benefits for our customers, being able to offer the services and product that we do.