People who work at Budget Marine know the water. Not only are they qualified to work in the marine industry, many have hands-on experience, hard earned in everything from sailing dinghies to Super Yachts.
Robbie Ferron, a Dutch national raised in South Africa, arrived on Sint Maarten in 1979 and soon realized that boat parts were in short supply and not easy to obtain. Thinking he could do a better job, he started a company in boat parts and called it Budget Marine to highlight his competitive pricing. In 1982 he started having a stock and selling parts to other people from the back bedroom of a house opposite Bobby’s Marina, in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.
In 1986, realizing that the bedroom operation was no longer fit for the purpose Robbie Ferron moved his stock together with a windsurfing shop belonging to Alfred Koolen who later became a partner in the company. The third partner, David de Vries, came into the picture in 1988 doing the accounting and ordering and taking care of all the technical system such as choosing a new computer system. The three of them became good friends and shared a passion for sailing. It worked very well as they combined their individual strengths to build the business: David being the cerebral guy doing the accounting and thinking, Alfred taking care of the operational side and Robbie moving everything forward.
With an increasing number of containers in use, 26 at one point parked on spare land loaned by a local supermarket, it quickly became apparent the operation was getting too big for the location they were in. In 1999 Budget Marine moved to a new location in Cole Bay which borders the Simpson Bay lagoon. Having to share the building first with two tenants, Budget Marine soon took over the whole building and even built an extra third floor to support its growth. This location still houses the main branch and warehouse for the Budget Marine Group.
Growth was not limited to St.Maarten. As Budget Marine grew, it became apparent that expansion with a centralized operation was needed in order to offset the cost for marketing, IT and inventory control. The company started to look for partners on other islands and quickly expanded. Branches were opened in Antigua (1993), St.Martin (1994), Trinidad (1996), Tortola & St.Thomas (2000), Bonaire & Grenada (2001), Curacao (2004) and Aruba (2010). In some locations having just one store was not enough. Antigua has opened two more locations in 2013 and 2015 and Trinidad opened a second location in 2016.
Budget Marine Now
The spirit of the sea runs strong at Budget Marine. With an overriding commitment to our customers and our large footprint in the Caribbean, Budget Marine is well known as the leading retailer and wholesaler of pleasure boat marine equipment in the Caribbean.
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