Brooks Busey says his staff is busier than usual as boat owners take to the water for social distancing.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant economic shutdown hasn’t slowed business at Sadler Point Marina.
In fact, it probably gave the usual spring surge a boost, said Brooks Busey, owner of Sadler Point Marina at 4599 Lakeside Drive along the Ortega River.
The tipping point came March 13, when The Players Championship golf tournament was canceled after the first round because PGA Tour officials didn’t want the thousands of people in the gallery possibly exposing each other to the coronavirus.
“We usually ramp up in the spring, but the weekend they canceled TPC, it went crazy,” Busey said.
Sadler Point is a full-service marine maintenance center for vessels from skiffs to yachts and an authorized Yamaha outboards dealer.
With people wanting to make sure their boats are shipshape for the season – and looking for something to do with the small-group social distancing mandate in effect – Busey and his staff of certified mechanics are busier than usual.
“When you’re on your boat out in the water – that’s social distancing,” Busey said.
The only loss for Busey’s spring season was the cancellation of the Jacksonville In-Water Boat Show April 3-5 at Metropolitan Park Marina because the city’s sports and entertainment venues are closed until further notice.
“We are blessed. A lot of people are worse off than we are,” Busey said.
Busey and his partners bought the former Pier 17 and Ship’s Locker adjacent to the marina in 2010 and developed the property into a retail, small office and restaurant space.
The Loop restaurant moved its Ortega location there in 2017, followed by Hightide Burrito Co. this past January.
With seating restaurant patrons in dining rooms currently prohibited, the two businesses are relying on takeout and delivery to keep the doors open and employees working.
“The Loop was established, but Hightide has had only had a few months there. They have both been impacted pretty significantly, so we’re working with them on the rent,” Busey said.
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