Richard Jr. and Julian Garcia didn’t expect to take over the family business so soon. When their father passed away in 2016, they didn’t hesitate to step up to continue his legacy, despite only being college-age. Since taking the helm, the business has only continued to grow and is racing (literally) into the future.
Their father, Richard Garcia Senior, started as a car salesman, but his passion lay with boats. When his boys were toddlers, he moved the family to the Keys to pursue that dream. After gaining years of experience as a boat salesman for other companies, Richard Sr. opened the gates to his own pre-owned boat sales lot in 2003.
Richard Jr. and Julian grew alongside Boat Depot. As children, they played among the boats, and as teenagers, they started to learn the business.
“We had a big foot in the door by just hanging out with our father at the dealership,” Richard Jr. says. “Then we learned even more from working at the dealership over the summers. So, even though taking over the business was daunting, we weren’t unprepared.”
After their loss, the brothers finished their college degrees while keeping the business afloat. They took everything they learned from their father and school and cranked it into high gear.
“My brother and I are young with lots of energy,” Julian says. “That’s worked in our advantage as we continue to grow and overcome obstacles in this business. We feel like we learn something new every day.”
Their youth also played to their advantage when the pandemic hit. They were able to quickly adapt to virtual boat showings and online sales. And they were able to keep up with the huge surge of customers.
The pandemic drove a lot of people to the Keys and, more so, to the water. Getting out on the water with family is a safe and enjoyable way to escape the confines of home. As a result, boat sales are soaring.
The brothers aren’t the only ones keeping this family business alive and thriving. Their mother, Lisette Garcia, also plays a vital role.
“Our mother is like the mom of the business, too,” Richard Jr. explains. “She is amazing at seeing where we need support and providing that support, whatever it takes.”
Working with family always holds its own challenges, but the trio make a great team. They specialize in buying and selling quality pre-owned boats, from fishing boats to speed boats and everything in between. You name it, they’ve sold it.
When not working, they’re off enjoying many of the same activities as their customers.
In fact, they regularly see their customers out on the water. “Seeing our customers enjoying their boats is one of the best parts of the job. We get to see how what we do brings family and friends together.”
The Garcia family has always spent lots of time relaxing and playing in the water, but they’re now venturing into more exciting waters. Boat Depot is entering the racing world as part of The Firm Racing Group.
Their first race is this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-5, in the St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Florida. Powerboat and personal watercraft race teams from across the U.S. will compete, including the Garcia brothers and their teammate, Team Owner Peter Riveiro.
The boat races will be an excellent way to promote Boat Depot, but that’s not all the brothers will gain from racing.
“Racing is taking our knowledge of boats to the next level. We’re learning even more about advancements in boat technology, engineering, performance…,” Richard Jr. explains. “We’re learning how to better serve our customers. And we’re having fun doing it!”
Boat Depot and the Garcia family are now racing into the future that their father built for them. They continue to honor and build his legacy, keeping his memory alive with every boat they buy and sell.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.