Each year, Nevada Business Magazine designates a number of family owned and operated businesses to receive Family Owned Business Awards at an event sponsored by Nevada State Bank. This year, Nevada State Bank client Boulder Boats, with locations in Henderson and Boulder City, took home one of these prestigious awards.

The Whippersnapper Award is handed out to growing businesses that are less than 10 years old, in the first generation of business succession, and with expectations that future generations will manage and grow the company.

Boulder Boats is a full service dealership that maintains an extensive inventory of boats and RV’s, along with equipment for water sports and boating.  Its service facility is equipped to handle a full range of repairs for boats, RVs and watercraft.

Keeping It in the Family

Stuart and Kristina Litjens, a husband and wife team, co-own Boulder Boats, which they founded in 2004.

We caught up with Stuart Litjens on his return from a trip to California to replenish the company’s inventory of pre-owned boats.  His knowledge and experience equip him to spot boats that fill the needs of Nevada boaters, along with boaters from countries around the world.

During a recent interview, Litjens explained how his family is involved in the operations of the company. “I started boating when I was in college at UNLV. I loved it so much, I started buying boats and flipping them.  Then I started a [boat brokerage] business with my wife, Kristina. I oversee sales, inventory and purchasing. Kristina manages the company’s administration, accounting and human resources for both the Henderson and Boulder City locations.”

Boulder Boats is a true family business, according to Litjens. Even the kids are involved in building the company. “My three kids love wake boarding and help us with wake boarding competitions that we host,” he said. Every family member contributes to the success of the Litjens’ business.

Growing a Business in Good Times and Bad

“Kristina and I built our business from the bottom up in 2004,” Litjens explained. “The company was still in growth mode when the recession hit. We marketed aggressively through the Internet, and built up inventory with low-priced boats and repossessions. Through online marketing, our customers are now worldwide, including Thailand, Mexico, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, and other countries.”

Boulder Boats: Intelligent Business Expansion

He continued, “We lacked physical space at our first facility in Boulder City, which is on one acre and has no showroom.”  The lack of physical space created problems for a company ready to move to the next level.

The Litjens turned to their Nevada State Bank Relationship Manager, Melanie Maviglia, who worked closely with Boulder Boats’ entire team to enable the business to expand with intelligent planning and design. “With the help of Nevada State Bank, and an SBA loan, we opened our new Henderson facility on Lake Mead Parkway.  We now have three acres and a 16,000 square foot showroom to display our inventory,” said Litjens.

How has the expansion impacted company growth at Boulder Boats?  “We’re selling more than 40 boats per month, and we can now showcase higher-end boats indoors,” explained Litjens. “Also, our service business is up. We went from two service bays in the former facility to five service bays, including an indoor test tank.” This has enabled the company to increase its bottom line by offering expanded services and accommodating more customers. They also added RVs to their product line in the Boulder City facility.

“Working with Melanie Maviglia at Nevada State Bank, our efficiencies have improved,” said Litjens.  “We use Remote Deposits™, which saves us time in depositing checks at the bank, and it’s more secure.  The edoor™ system also enables us to wire funds more quickly from our accounts, which helps us in purchasing inventory.”

Nevada State Bank congratulates the Litjens family and the team of professionals at Boulder Boats for their achievement.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.