As a Keys native, Tommy Brashares was surrounded by the sea and tropical beauty of the islands, but his childhood didn’t fit the stereotypical island life one imagines. His youth wasn’t spent on luxurious boats on the open water but instead on the athletic fields at school.
Tommy’s family didn’t have as much money as most of his peers, but he was content canoeing the mangroves with his brother and playing every sport possible. He’d jump on his bike in the morning and rarely return before nightfall, as was still the norm in those pre-internet days.
Though Tommy didn’t know the luxuries of the Keys, he did know the community. The neighborly atmosphere the Keys are known for was just as strong in his neighborhood as in the more affluent areas, and he enjoyed his youth despite his circumstances.
Once he started attending Coral Shores, Tommy’s easy nature and sense of humor attracted new friendships that expanded beyond his neighborhood, and he started going offshore with his friends and their families. He began to see the Keys as a whole and could better appreciate its world-renowned appeal.
“Like most kids who grew up in the Keys, I took it for granted,” Tommy says. “It wasn’t until I got older and saw more of the world that I truly started appreciating where I was lucky enough to be born.”
Tommy experienced much success in sports, and that same drive and commitment carried over to his professional life after graduation. His friendly personality fit perfectly with sales, and he eagerly entered that world with a determination to be the best. He worked his way to becoming a top salesman for every company he worked for, including Eco Lab, Reba Motorsports, and Marine Connection.
Then he set his eyes on a new goal: to become an independent dealer for Boston Whaler. Anyone in the industry knows that being accepted into the Boston Whaler family is the Holy Grail of the boating dealership world. They have incredibly high standards and will only partner with people who perfectly fit their customer-first, family-minded business model.
“All of my colleagues warned me not to get my hopes up, but I was determined, and I had the support of my wife and brother-in-law, which is invaluable.” Tommy’s wife, Sarah, was poised to manage office logistics, and her brother, Brett Roach, was prepared to invest and ally his two successful businesses, Prop Tech and Bottoms and Props, with the endeavor.
Tommy’s determination paid off as he won over the support of John Foster and Katie Hansen of Boston Whaler and came to a mutually beneficial agreement with Safe Harbor Marinas.
It was all settled, and Native Marine is now the only independent Boston Whaler dealer from Tavernier to Key West.
“We were intent on the name Native Marine because our focus is on preserving the Keys’ way of doing business and steering clear of the corporate-mindedness that’s been taking over the marinas,” Tommy explains. “As natives and a family-owned business, we proudly adopt the mom-and-pop-shop mentality.”
In addition to Tommy, Sarah, and Brett, Native Marine’s team includes Joe Ashworth, who has been in the industry for over 40 years. He spearheads the service side of the business, which includes mercury engines since Native Marine is also a Mercury Authorized Dealer and Warranty provider.
Boston Whalers are considered “unsinkable boats” designed especially for families. With two young sons, Tommy knows safety is paramount and prides himself on getting families safely on the water.
Native Marine is also a certified Sea Lion boat dealer, which caters to avid anglers, as well as a certified and bonded yacht brokerage. “We are here for our customers from start to finish. Whatever they need, we make happen.”
80460 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.