Despite the fact there were no balloons, streamers or anyone in stilts dressed up like Uncle Sam, and just a single banner proclaiming a sale within, the parking lot at Four Seasons Marine Supply in Denver saw a lot of traffic — not just that passing up and down N.C. 16, but the good kind — the kind that drives traffic into the store.
â€œThis is the start of our third summer, so weâ€™re doing 10 percent off, and giving out free hot dogs,â€ said Pam Cotter, who husband, Mark, is the owner/operator of the business (which also has another product line, sign making).
Whether it was the hot dog (along with either sweet iced tea or bottled water and plentiful bags of potato chips, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos and other snacks), or the prices inside, people were stopping to see what was going on. At one point, the lot was so filled with cars that people had to pull into the parking lot of an adjacent facility.
For a number of people, it was their first time ever in the store, and what they found amazed them.
â€œLot of people have been saying theyâ€™re surprised by the number of items we carry,â€ said Gail Parker, whoâ€™s not only an employee, but a friend of the Cotters.
â€œI wanted to see what they have,â€ said Chad Field, who moved to the Denver area four years ago from Wooster, Ohio. â€œIâ€™ve been here a couple of times.â€
After looking around, he didnâ€™t find anything he felt he needed, but he definitely said he would be back in the future.
Marcus Reiser, however, did find some items he needed or wanted, and was smiling at his discovery, a small, black mat he planned on using around his pool.
The flow of traffic kept Mark Cotter hopping, as he sometimes bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball between customers. It was so busy that when his wife so he wouldnâ€™t have time to eat a hot dog, she ate it herself.
She and her husband were pleased with the turnout, but itâ€™s not surprising. The couple have been around boats almost their entire lives.
â€œWe have owned boats all our lives,â€ she said. Thus it seemed natural for the couple to go into the boating supply business. But it wasnâ€™t just their love for boating, but their ability to recognize a need that was going unanswered when the couple first moved to Denver 12 years ago.
â€œBefore we opened, we had to buy via mail order or go to Charlotte for any boat-related merchandise,â€ she said.
Another reason they went into business was the simple fact they were tired of being uprooted. They had moved five times in the last decade prior to moving to Denver, as Mark Cotterâ€™s success with a major home improvement retail manager kept him in high demand whenever a new store was opened.
With children in high school (now all grown, the youngest graduates North Carolina State University this semester), the Cotters are glad they made the choice they did to stop working for the corporate world and branching out into their own.
Being their own boss, however, does have its drawbacks. They have little time anymore to get on their boat and enjoy what Lake Norman has to offer. But itâ€™s a small price to pay, the couple say.
Four Season Marine Supply is located at 575 N.C. 16 North. Its phone number is (704) 489-8242. Hours are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m;, Saturday 9 a.m. -5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (up through Labor Day).
Four Season Marine Supply is well-stocked to handle the needs of Lake Norman boaters. Steve Steiner / LTN Photo
by Steve Steiner