Opened in 2008 as a wooden boat repair business under its official Brightside Wooden Boat Services name, Brightside Marine expanded to repairing fiberglass boats, rents boats, runs boat tours, stores boats and repairs and sells electronic motors. The restoration portion of the business, which can take up 1,500 hours per boat, accounts for 85% of revenue, and rentals 15%. Grant lives on site, and his property is on both sides of Hulin Road. Making his way through the well-traveled gravel and grassy paths through a boat yard filled with projects new and old, Grant appears at peace. Wearing brown cargo shorts, flip-flops and a well-worn company shirt, a wide grin surfaces when talking about his work. A 1947 Chris Craft is loaded in a three-bay garage next to a 1964 Chris Craft which is one of the largest customer projects Grant has undertaken. The boat came in whole, but Grant and his crew disassembled it and are in the process of replacing 90% of the boat’s wood. Grant filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the town regarding his property and docks at the marina. The town won the lawsuit, with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling Grant could no longer charge people to use the docks at his Great Pond Outlet Stream business. Grant also paid a $20,000 fine.
Embroiled in controversy over the use of his docks and property with the town for the last few years, the 59-year-old Grant is now focused on expanding his Brightside Marine boat rental and restoration business on Hulin Road. The world is ready to move on from the coronavirus pandemic. Grant too is ready for change, but for a very different reason.
“I can finally run my business,” Grant said last week from behind his desk at the Marina. “I can finally do what I know how to do, and that’s grow a small business.” Shawn Grant on the docks July 16, 2018, at Brightside Marina, the business he owns in Belgrade Lakes Village. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file
“Projects salvageable by our standards,” Grant said. IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD His property extends behind the houses on Hulin Road. Grant rents the house and garage next door to his for extra storage, and new this summer, two Brightside Marine employees live there. To walk through Grant’s property is to see a rare type of shop for the state of Maine. Some of the boats look ready to launch, while others near the back of his property need more work. Some of those have been there for years with an unclear completion timeline.
On any given day, there are upwards of a dozen project boats in the back of the marina where he works between 70-80 hours a week. Grant and co. refurbish these boats to rent or sell, but their main gig is restoring customer boats. The business leases a property in Rome for inside storage. The business rents 10 boats in addition to restoration, which accounts for 90% of revenue. The winter months are spent mostly on restoration of customer’s boats and ones the business owns, Grant’s “projects.” “I’m tens of thousands of dollars lighter of wallet, but I’m still right here,” Grant said. “I feel no animosity when I walk into Day’s Store.”
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