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50 Years of family-owned recreation builds for future generations

Tom and Joy Shaver opened Tom’s Marine Sales in 1969 in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  They had joined a boat club at nearby Lake Holiday and found that no one knew how to fix motorized boats.

“Tom’s family owns a farm, so he knew how to fix things,” daughter-in-law Lori Shaver said.  “He spent a lot of time fixing farm equipment and figured boat motors couldn’t be that much different.  Tom saw the need, so he and Joy opened a shop basically to fix their friends’ boats.”

Lori said that Tom and Joy’s son Ken had always worked at the shop.  Ken and Lori met when they were both students at Purdue University.  After graduation, they moved to Crawfordsville and Ken went back to working with his dad.  Meanwhile, Lori went to work at Temple-Inland, a corrugated box and container manufacturer.   “Working at Inland was good,” Lori said, “because it gave me experience in the corporate world and gave me an outside perspective of how to do business.”  Lori stayed at Temple-Inland for 15 years then made the leap into the family business full-time about 10 years ago as she and Ken started taking full responsibility for running the company.

Over the years, Tom’s has added land-roving vehicles, a warehouse, a large showroom, and more services to their portfolio.  Ken and Lori have also moved the company forward by adding electronic inventory management, an interactive website, and increased brand exposure through involvement with GNCC Motorcross Racing.  “We try to be more forward thinking,” Lori said.  Currently, they host the Warrior Dash, an Ironman Race that is part of the Motorcross National Series every October, and find that the event has become so popular that they have to hire more and more outside contractors each year for the event. 

Tom’s Marine Sales celebrated their 50th Anniversary earlier this year.  Lori said they are excited to continue building the business so that it will be their children and grandchildren running the ship when Tom’s celebrates 100 years in 2069.

“We want to leave it (Tom’s Marine Sales) as the same thing it is to us,” Lori said, “something that our family continues to love and wants to improve.”

Company Name: 
Tom's Marine Sales
Location: 
Crawfordsville, Indiana