|HISTORY OF HALL'S SPORT CENTER
With 64,000 square feet of showrooms, offices, and boat service departments, Hall's Sport Center in Muskegon, Michigan has often been called the "house that Century built". During the early 1980's, Century Boats of Manistee, Michigan propelled Harold Hall and his company to a leading position in West Michigan's new boat market.
Hall started the company in 1972 immediately upon graduation from high school. In his first season, Hall competed by offering Rinker Boats out of his parent's garage in East Muskegon. While selling a myriad of recreational products through the years; snowmobiles, campers and personal jet boats, it was Century that helped Hall's Sport Center to focus on what has become their market niche today, fiberglass boats from 17 to 35 feet.
Originally, Hall's started out in the old Babbitt building on Getty street in Muskegon. Owner Harold Hall got his start in the business world working for Ed Babbitt of Babbitt's Sport Center while still in high school. Through the early years, Hall's Sport Center sold campers, pick-up truck toppers and recreational vechicles, along with boats after 1990 when they stopped selling Coachman recreational vehicles.
Besides narrowing their market focus to strictly new and used fiberglass boats, Hall's Sport Center has broadened its market share with numerous expansions. It moved to its current Muskegon location at 759 E. Broadway in 1975. Since that time, Hall's has grown by adding additional warehouse space, showrooms, and service buildings at most locations.
In 1988 the business was expanded outside of Muskegon County when they opened a second store in Grand Rapids. The Company expanded once again in 1989 when they added a third location in Grand Haven.
Before becoming West Michigan's Century dealer, Hall's Sport Center had experienced tough economic times. During the early 1980's, Muskegon County was suffering from 20 percent unemployment. Nationwide, interest rates were as high as 20 percent. This was not an enviroment conducive to selling high-priced, luxury items like speedboats.
Hall's Sport Center's fortunes took a turn for the better with the introduction of the 1983 Century new boat line-up. At that time, a Century was considered a Cadillac when compared to Hall's other volume line, Rinker. Hall's quickly discovered something about the Muskegon and West Michigan boat markets-customers wanted a high-end, hight-quality product.
With a mere $150,000 line of credit, Hall's Sport Center sold over $2.5 million worth of Century boats that first year. Hall's soon became Century's 2nd largest dealer. However, those times were short-lived. In 1986, Century experienced union problems that led to a crippling strike. Soon thereafter, Century was sold and its operation was moved to Panama City, FL, where it continues to produce fiberglass sportfishing boats.
In an attempt to replace Century, Hall's Sport Center added Chapparral runabouts, a Georgia Based Manufacturer. Hall's was now Chapparral's exclusive West Michigan dealer. Much to their benefit, Chapparral began to emerge as a leading contender in runabout boats. It wasn't long before Hall's became Chapparral's fifth largest dealer.
Hall's Sport Center continued to carry Chapparral through the 1990 model year. It was about this time that an old friend from Century, Mike Kamaloski, solicited the local dealer with another Michigan made boat. Kamaloski had become the regional sales manager for Four Winns, built by the OMC Recreational Boat Group in Cadillac. For years, Four Winns had been Hall's Sport Center's toughest competition in the growing West Michigan market. Since the local franchise for Four Winns was now available, Kamaloski was able to renew his old ties with Hall's Sport Center. Together they've enjoyed an immensely successful run in West Michigan through the 1990's and into the future....
Four Winns provides innovative, a superbly finished product, extensive color options, and an award winning hull design. Most Four Winns boats are offered in complete packages that include not only the boat and motor, but trailer as well. In numbers of annual new boat registrations (provided by the Michigan Secretary of State's office), Four Winns commands 48 percent of the new boat market in Muskegon County, 38 percent in adjoining Ottawa County, and 24 percent in local Kent County. Year after year, since 1990, Hall's Sport Center has continued to achieve status as one of the largest Four Winns dealers in the world.
When combining sales totals of Four Winns, Bayliner, Trophy, and Manitou Pontoons,Hall's Sport Center's product line-up, the market share for new boats sales reaches 70 percent in Muskegon County and 46 percent in a five county West Michigan region. These are impressive statistics by any measure. Today, the company employs over 30 people at its four locations, stocks more than $500,000 in parts inventory, and displays more than $5 million in boats, both new and used.
Hall's currentyly offers fishing boats, pontoons, open bow runabouts, cuddy cabins and deckboats, along with mid-berth cabin cruisers for sale at each of its three locations. In addition, Hall's boasts an indoor pre-owned showroom which enables customers to view clean used boats even during the winter months. Few dealerships can compete with this level of commitment to the customer. Hall's history also includes a formula for matching a competent, hard working staff with quality marine products. This formula, coupled with the company's unwaivering dedication to service, makes them West Michigan's premier boat organization.