Islands Marine Center (IMC) was launched in 1972 by Jennifer and the late Ron Meng (1954-2013). These hardworking newlyweds established IMC on Lopez Island, a remote location where few could see the need or feasibility for a marina. Despite naysayers, the couple buckled down and slowly expanded from selling parts and marine services out of the trunk of a Volkswagen to what has become a full-service marina, boat dealerships and repair facility with more than 25 employees. Now, almost four decades later, IMC attracts customers from all across Washington as well as maintaining a strong customer base throughout the United States. IMC believed success would hinge on its ability to find a market niche and then fill it better than anyone else. We knew early on that Lopez is “40 minutes from America” said Ron. “In order to stay in business we had to offer something unique. People pass up a lot of other boat dealerships to come to us.” As the commercial fishing fleet in the San Juan Islands waned in the late 1970s and pleasure boating began to fill the void, the Mengs noticed that many boaters were purchasing the wrong kind of vessel for their needs. They also noticed many boaters didn’t know how to properly run or care for their boats.
The need for boating education sparked an idea. By taking a very personal approach to becoming a boat dealership, the Mengs began matching customers with boats that fit their needs. They instituted a hands-on orientation, which they provided to every one of their boat buying customers.
Today, as a dealer for Ocean Sport and Pursuit boats, IMC continues that tradition. Every new boat sold comes with a thorough, two day orientation that familiarizes the new owners with the operation and maintenance of their boat.