For Brett English, running his own business was something has worked for since graduating from Northwest High School more than a decade ago.

That dream of being a full-time business owner was realized earlier this year when he and his partner, Josh Cole, opened Apex Marine at 4413 E. Highway 30 in Grand Island.

English said Apex Marine is a full-service marine dealer, offering a wide range of products and services, to “help boaters get on the water and stay on the water.”

He said the business, which opened in May, offers boat sales, boat service, parts and storage. Apex Marine is Nebraska’s exclusive dealer of Landau Pontoon Boats and Warrior Boats. English is also a Minnkota authorized service provider, along with selling and servicing Suzuki Marine Outboard Motors and Mercury Marine Outboard Motors.

Locally owned and established, English said Apex Marine, “ ... strives to provide exceptional services and products to Nebraska boaters.”

He said Cole has been a long-time friend.

“We began Apex Marine with a vision to fulfill a need for local boating enthusiasts in our community,” English said. “With many years of combined experience in the marine industry, our goal is to not only provider boaters with exceptional products and service today, but to continuously grow based off of input from our valued boaters to offer new products and expanded services for years to come.”

English said he began “turning wrenches on boats as a sophomore in high school as a part-time job.”

“It was something I took a liking to and something that I wanted to branch out and do my own thing,” he said.

After high school, he became a full-time boat mechanic for several local businesses before deciding to strike out on his own and start his own business with his partner.

When growing up in Grand Island, his family never owned a boat. His father runs a successful auto repair business. English said a friend helped him get a part-time job working on boat motors.

Since his graduation from Northwest in 2008, English gained hands-on experience working on boat motors and had gone to many boat company-sponsored training schools to keep his skills up-to-date.

While working as a boat mechanic, he also learned the necessary people skills needed to be a successful business owner.

“I really like talking with people and working with the customers that come through,” English said.

He said fisherman love to tell stories. It was also a valuable learning tool where he learned what boat owners expected and wanted from a marine business that sold boats and accessories, and offered repairs. He said he gets personal satisfaction getting boaters out on the water and “doing what they love to do.”

Since opening the business in May, English said, “service has exceeded our expectations.”

“Our goals, starting out, was to get dealers in place and the business up and running and we have exceeded all of those goals,” English said.

A lot of his business lately has been with boat repairs. English said, in many cases, a little repair can get an older boat back into the water in no time.

“There is nothing wrong with the old stuff,” he said. “Maybe old is the wrong term to use. A lot of boats have sentimental value. There is no job that I won’t take on from floor replacement to working on the trailer all the way to the top of the boat.”

And now with fall just a couple of weeks away and the outdoor boating season winding down, English said this is the time of year boat owners will have work done on their boat before next year’s outdoor recreational season begins.

English said he is working on increasing his storage area for boats. He also said he would go and tow a boat to his shop for the owner.

“Or, you can drop it off, and we will winterize it and put in storage for you,” he said. “And when it is time to pull it out of storage, we will make sure that it is good to go.”

Apex Marine is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday

For more information, call (308) 675-0553 or check the business’s Facebook page at Apex Marine Nebraska.

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I cover business, ag and general reporting for the GI Independent.

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