Atwood Lake marinas premiere improvements for the boating season

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Atwood Lake Boats, Inc., rated 42nd nationally for enhancing boating experiences and service, is rolling out even more improvements for the 2012 season.

They include a major remodeling of Atwood Marina East near Dellroy, including a new restaurant and lounge, as well as carry-out service. In addition to various boats for sale at its marinas, Atwood Lake Boats also is offering a wide selection of new rentals.

"This was the third year in a row that we've placed in the Top 100, and every year we put a plan together to improve on last year's rating," said Brian Valot, who, with his wife, Chris, owns Atwood Lake Boats.

The company includes the marinas at the east and west ends of Atwood Lake and two at Salt Fork State Park.

An independent panel of marine-industry experts annually rates North American marina operations based on their overall performance and how they deliver the best boat-ownership experience, from boats, parts and accessory sales, to service, storage and more. Atwood's latest No. 42 rating was an improvement on last year's No. 51.

Buoyed by the success of the Lighthouse Bistro at Atwood Marina West, Valot said he believes there is a market for a second quality food and refreshment option on the lake.

"We have made arrangements to open the Dock at Atwood Lake at the marina near Dellroy by Memorial Day weekend," he said. "We have expanded and remodeled the marina, creating a covered eating area on the porch and an overall atmosphere that we think people will really enjoy."

The Dock at Atwood Lake will be operated by David Cosentino, a 20-year veteran of the food-service business, including a catering business in Chagrin Falls and ownership of Antoneo's Italian Eatery in Zoar.

A liquor license, recently approved by area voters, allows the business to have a full-service bar and carry-out.

One of the nation's largest pontoon-boat dealers, Atwood Lake Boats' sales efforts benefit from their ability to offer on-water demonstrations of the nation's most popular brands - Bennington, SanPan, Aqua Patio and Sweetwater - as well as Hurricane deck boats and Yamaha outboard motors.

Online sales and the use of E-bay open more sales doors.

"For people who just want to enjoy a boat for a day, we also have what we believe is the best, newest fleet of pontoon-boat rentals," said Valot. "People can choose boats that can hold eight, 12 or 20 passengers, and every one of the boats is new, or no older than two years. And for tubing, wake boarding and water skiing, our marinas also rent sport boats."

At their Sugartree Marina on Salt Fork Lake, which allows faster watercraft, the rental fleet includes six new jet skis that can generate 110 hp, 17-foot Hurricane deck boats with 115 hp motors, and pontoon boats with motors from 40 to 90 hp, suited for skiing and tubing.

To generate even more activity around the lakes, Atwood Lake Boats continues to build on its list of activities held throughout the summer, including a scavenger hunt by boat at the west marina and on-water drive-in movies at the east marina.

This summer, a new "Women Making Waves" program is a two-hour course designed to make women comfortable with the operation of watercraft.

Private events include weddings, receptions and business outings - sometimes using the Atwood Queen cruise boat, which accommodates groups up to 50 with optional catering services, in between weekend public cruises.

"What separates Atwood Lake Boats from its competitors is not just revenues, as much as it is the quality of its business operations, its dedication to excellence through training of employees and its caring concern for customers," said Liz Walz, Boating Industry magazine's editor-in-chief.

The entire operation was evaluated and rated by members of the magazine's staff, as well as experts from GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance, Boat Trader and the Boats.com Alliance, Volvo Penta, Manheim Specialty Auctions, Global Marine Insurance Agency and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.

"They continue to elevate their business to a superior level of sales and service,' said Ryan Good, Nautic Global Group's district sales manager. "As a result, Atwood Lake Boats, Inc., is recognized each year as one of our top national dealerships."

"These awards," Valot commented, "reflect not only our efforts, but also those of our staff and their commitment to customer satisfaction. We are striving to provide our customers with easy, convenient, valued service allowing our recognition of quality to continue in 2012 and beyond."

For more information about Atwood Lake Boats, Inc., see www.AtwoodLakeBoats.com or call 330-364-4703. The dealership is located at 9398 Atwood Lake Road NE, Mineral City.

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