Atwood Lake Boats has new owner

Atwood Lake Boats has new owner

Ohio’s largest pontoon boat dealer, Atwood Lake Boats Inc., has been sold to Michael Valot of New Philadelphia, whose family has owned the business for the past 21 years.

Valot, who has been a minority shareholder in the business, will acquire ownership of all shares from his father, Brian Valot, on Oct. 1. Ownership includes both marinas on Atwood Lake including the West Marina and Lighthouse Bistro near Mineral City and the East Marina and Dock Grill near Dellroy.

Ownership also includes all buildings and equipment, 700 on-water docks, and the lease on the marina land with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.

“Our customers really won’t notice any difference in our operations,” Valot said. “My dad will continue to be around in a consultant role, and we will continue to focus on providing excellent customer service, making excellent use of our substantial investment in infrastructure, equipment and docks — all aimed at creating a better experience for our customers.”

“Michael has been around the marina since he was able to walk,” Brian Valot said. “He became a full-time employee in 2006, and we began to formulate a transition plan in 2012, so he is very prepared to be the sole owner.”

Atwood Lake Boats was founded in 1963 by Gary Spahr, who sold it to Brian Valot in 2000 after he and his wife, Chris, had been employed there for many years. Last year the business ranked No. 16 on Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 list of North American marine operations after being consistently named to the list since 2009.

Atwood is a dealer for Barletta, Harris, Sylvan and Rossiter pontoon boats; Mercury, Yamaha and Suzuki outboard motors; and a large collection of accessories and clothing.

Building a customer base at Atwood Lake and throughout Ohio resulted in its growth to become the state’s largest pontoon boat dealer, as well as having the state’s largest boat service, parts and rental operation. Atwood has 24 year-round employees, growing to 36 during the boating seasons.

Both Valots credit a great relationship with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and its continuing park-improvement programs for helping to support the business’ success.

“The MWCD parks continue to undergo more and more improvements,” Michael Valot said. “They attract more people to the area every year, which has really helped the growth of Atwood Lake Boats for almost 60 years. Now we believe that will also be a positive influence for us in the years ahead.”

To learn more about Atwood Lake Boats, visit www.atwoodlakeboats.com or call the West Marina at 330-364-4703.