A Little About the History of
The Boat Place, Inc.
Four generations of the Gudzik family have served Port Jefferson and the surrounding communities since our company's founding in 1905. As one of Port Jefferson's oldest businesses, we are proud to continue our village's maritime tradition as a fifth generation of the family enters the business. We look forward to continued success as we work hard to "go the extra nautical mile" for our customers every day.
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Over A Century in Business
From our humble beginnings to riding the top of the wave, we’ve been through a lot in the last century. We’ve helped introduce the joys of boating and fishing to thousands of families over the years. We’ve carried several boat lines, including ANA Skiffs, Bayliner, Buccaneer, Chris Craft, Cobia, Critchfield, Cutter, Larson, Manatee, Sea Star, Sportcraft, Sun Runner, Thompson, Tiara, Trojan, US Yacht (sailboats) and Viking. We are currently a registered yacht broker and a franchised servicing dealer for Mercury, MerCruiser and Volvo Penta engines.
Peter and Eva Gudzik, German-speaking immigrants from Galicia (Austria-Hungary), were the first Gudziks to settle in Port Jefferson, in the latter part of the 19th century. Peter was the manager of the farm at what is now St. Charles Hospital, which supplied the fresh vegetables for the nuns and the children at the orphanage and hospital.
Peter and Eva had seven children. The eldest, Mike Gudzik, was a talented mechanic and the founder of Gudzik's Garage on West Broadway in Port Jefferson (1905). Gudzik's Garage was Long Island's first Sunoco station, and its first Chrysler car dealer.
Mike married Corinne Dayton, granddaughter of locally famous painter William M. Davis. They had two children, Kenneth and Dorothy. Dorothy was tragically killed by a car at 6 years of age while crossing the street in front of the family business. Mike was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving during the First World War.
The Port Jefferson Echo. July 10, 1924 (Page 5)
The Port Jefferson Echo. January 03, 1929 (Page 9)
Kenneth was a star athlete at Port Jefferson High School, and was active in Boy Scout Troop 45, becoming its first Eagle Scout in 1932. He later became Scoutmaster of the Troop. He married Ernestine (Tine) Johnson of Garfield, Georgia. During the war years, he was a welding foreman at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, converting passenger ships to troop transports. He served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in Germany in the latter years of World War II. He was a member of the Port Jefferson Fire Department, and Suffolk Masonic Lodge in Port Jefferson.
A Second Generation and the Shift to Marine
In October 1944, Mike Gudzik died on the same day Ken and Tine's first child was born. Kenneth Michael was thereafter always known as Mike. Ken and Tine had two more children, Dan and Patty. In the 1950s, Ken began servicing boats and motors in addition to automobiles.
In 1956, Gudzik's became Long Island's first Kiekhaefer Mercury Outboard dealer, and began selling ANA Skiffs and Trojan (both wooden boat lines).
The Patchogue Advance. September 20, 1956 (Page 24)
In 1959, Gudzik's Marine began selling its first fiberglass boats (Cutter). In 1961 Gudzik’s was the first to sell MerCruiser Stern Drives on Long Island. On December 31, 1962 a fire ripped through the garage on one of the coldest days on record, completely destroying it.
December 31, 1962 (Photo by Alfred Semm)
Not one to let adversity get in his way, Ken rebuilt a bigger and better showroom and service facility. In 1962, Gudzik's became the first Dry Land Marina facility of its kind in the Northeast, providing a valet launch service for its small boat customers. By 1963, the business had shifted fully into the marine business, and was no longer servicing cars.
New Showroom building at left side of photo (note the LILCO gas Horton Sphere as well), at top right is Sea View Boat Center (now the site of The Boat Place) before the bulkhead and ramp facility were constructed (About 1972)
The Gudzik Boys Take Over
Beginning in the 1960s, Mike and Dan worked in the family business. Interrupted only by their college years and Dan's service in the U.S. Navy, they worked in every facet of the business and helped to build the new showroom when they weren't hauling boats over the road to and from customers' homes.
In 1972, a Grand Opening was held for the new two-story boat showroom and service facility, one of the first to display boats on an upper floor. They were moved in and out with a fork lift through a specially-designed garage door on the side of the building.
By 1977, Tine had retired from teaching (after over 20 years at Comsewogue Elementary School), and Ken retired from the business, as Mike and Dan took the helm. Mike was a gifted mechanic, and took over the service end of the business, while Dan ran the sales operation.
The Long-Islander. February 17, 1977 (Page 33)
In 1978, the Gudzik's acquired the property on Beach Street and the Dry Land Marina and boat storage operation was moved to the other side of 25A on the water. In 1980, a new travelift slip, private launching ramp and bulkhead were constructed, providing a much-needed hauling facility in Port Jefferson's busy harbor. It remains the only boat hoist in the harbor today.
Building the Ramp and Travelift Slip (1980)
Gudzik Becomes a Household Name
By the 1980s, Mike and Dan had built Gudzik’s Marine into one of the largest boat dealers in the world, with record sales of $30,000,000+ They operated four locations on Long Island and employed over 160 people in the Port Jefferson location alone. Gudzik's became a household name on Long Island, as the world's largest Bayliner and Sun Runner dealer.
Featured as Dealer of the Year by a national boating magazine, Gudzik's Marine was known nationwide as a leader in the marine industry. Literally thousands of families got their start in boating at Gudzik's.
Boating. January, 1991 (Page 122)
Boating. January, 1991 (Page 123)
- 1992 Changed name to "The Boat Place," Gary Gudzik joins the crew full time (4th Generation)
- 2000 Sold showroom building and moved entire operation to Beach Street boat yard
- 2004 Expanded operation with a second storage yard for trailerable boats
- 2011 Jason Gudzik joins the crew full time
- 2017 The Boat Place Inc. licenses the operation of its service department to Harborside Marine, Inc. Pete Finn, owner of Harborside, has nearly 20 years' experience as a marine technician and brings a fresh, energetic and talented team of technicians to service our customers' boats and engines. The Boat Place continues to provide hull maintenance services (painting & waxing, etc.), as well as Winter Storage, shrinkwrapping, bottom painting, waxing/detailing, and Dry Land Marina services.
We are looking forward to making 2017 a great year for our customers, our crew, our friends and our families! We have reached this level of success because of you, and we would like to thank you for your continued business and support. We aim to provide good-old-fashioned, reliable service to our customers at a fair price, while maintaining profitability. We treat our customers the way we would like to be treated ourselves—with fairness and respect. We look forward to serving you for another 100 years.
- 2018 The fifth generation of Gudziks is helping to celebrate over 100 years of service to Port Jefferson’s boating community as Harrison Gudzik starts his first summer job at The Boat Place (5th Generation)
Harrison, Dan, and Gary Gudzik—three generations of Gudzik's working together (2018)