Lifting Boats & Spirits – Hurricane Boat Lifts South

Growing up and raising a family on the Great Lakes is the northern equivalent of the Keys lifestyle. The Hajec family made the most of the short Ohio summers by spending every warm weekend on Lake Erie, enjoying time with their children, dogs, and a sense of freedom only the water can provide.

They had always loved the whole atmosphere surrounding boating—the camaraderie with other boating families, the joy of watching their children thrive in a water-centric environment, and the precious memories created aboard their boat. However, their passion was limited to just a few months of the year due to the harsh winters in Ohio.

To escape the dreary cold, Mike and Karri Hajec would take their three sons to the Keys during their school vacations. The warm and sunny atmosphere would lift their spirits until summer returned, and they could once again spend all of their free time on the Great Lakes.

This intermittent boating lifestyle sustained the family for many years, especially while Mike grew a business from nothing to 23rd on the list of Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. But as board meetings grew longer and sunny days drew shorter, Mike was ready for a change.

Mike and Karri sat down to discuss what the next chapter in their life should look like. They both agreed that warm weather and boating should be at the heart of it. So, the couple hired a broker to find a business for sale in the southeastern United States that met those criteria.

As fate would have it, the broker discovered the perfect business in their favorite vacation destination. Mike flew down to the Keys to meet with the owner of Hurricane Boat Lifts South and was immediately impressed with the business. He admired how the company built and sold top-notch products without taking any shortcuts or using any cheap materials.

The owner had multiple businesses that split his attention, but Mike saw the unlimited potential the business had if given full-time attention. After growing one business with great success, Mike knew he could do it again. But this time, he’d need the help of his wife.

Karri had worked in sales before deciding to stay home with their children. She says, “Being a housewife and mother was the best gift to myself and to my kids,” but she was ready to make a change alongside her husband. She and Mike both knew she would once again excel in sales as she once had.

Their extensive boating experience, combined with Mike’s entrepreneurial background and Karri’s sales experience, made them the perfect fit for this venture. So, three days after Mike arrived, he called Karri and exclaimed into the phone, “We’re moving to the Keys!”

While Mike settled in the Keys to lay the groundwork, Karri stayed back in Ohio for a few months to ensure a smooth transition for their children. Finally, the family reunited in their new home, ready to embrace the full-time boating lifestyle they had always dreamed of.

Hurricane Boat Lifts South has quickly grown over the past 5 years under the Hajecs’ ownership. The company offers not only top-of-the-line Hurricane boat lifts but also comprehensive maintenance programs and repair services for any boat lift brand. They take pride in being a one-stop shop for all dock-related needs, providing design guidance, installation, maintenance, service, and even the removal of old lifts.

Their impressive showroom in Tavernier often stops customers in their tracks when they enter. It showcases an extensive range of lifts and dock accessories, from piles and cleats to fish cleaning stations. Karri and Mike pride themselves on their ability to work closely with customers to get them everything they need to bring their visions to life.

Karri handles much of the up-front service, while Mike handles the logistics in the field. He has gone from a snow-covered boardroom to working outdoors often on a sunny island, and he couldn’t be happier.

“For most of my work week, I get to run around the Keys, looking at beautiful houses and incredible boats. I have the coolest job ever in the most beautiful place!”

Karri has thrived in her position as well, enjoying the neighborly friendliness of customers that share the same passions as her family. She loves the sense of fulfillment she feels when she helps a customer achieve their dreams of having a personal boating hub for their loved ones to enjoy.

As Karri puts it, “Our customers have worked incredibly hard to create a boating lifestyle for their families, so we work incredibly hard to help in any way we can. And there’s nothing better than seeing the looks on their faces when their hard-earned dreams become a reality.”

But it’s not just the business success that has made their journey special. The Hajecs have found a genuine sense of belonging in the Keys. The transition from Ohio to this tropical paradise has been nothing short of amazing. They wake up every day to sunshine and find themselves smiling more because of that simple blessing.

The Keys community has also welcomed them with open arms, and their children have effortlessly settled into their new lives, making friends and exploring the outdoors. Their two oldest boys, Luke and Cole, are involved in sports and obtained their boater licenses for their 13-foot whaler. Their 9-year-old, Hayden, is already dreaming of becoming the mayor, and based on his natural-born charisma, he just might achieve it.

To give back to the community that welcomed them so graciously, Hurricane Boat Lift South sponsors many youth sports teams and participates in charity events, buying booths and donating auction items whenever possible. The giving spirit of the community is contagious, and Mike and Karri sincerely enjoy being a part of it.

Karri’s father, John, and stepmother, Mary, also moved down to the Keys close behind them. The couple has settled in just as nicely, making the transition that much easier for the Hajec family. John handles all of the permitting for the business and has become as valuable of an asset as the rest of the employees on their team. A team, mind you, that has been built on mutual respect and shared benefits as the business continues to grow.

All in all, the life-changing move to the Keys has been a huge success. The Hajec family no longer has to escape to spirit-lifting experiences, as they now get to live them every day. Just as meaningfully, they get to help lift the spirits of like-minded customers with every Hurricane boat lift they install and every boating dream they help make come true.



Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.


Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

Protecting Paradise Island Arms & Indoor Range

Jenny Hall’s 4E mission to Educate, Encourage, Empower, and Entertain is officially underway. Island Arms opened its doors earlier this year, and happy customers have been passing through ever since.