MORE THAN A PLACE TO DOCK YOUR BOAT; THE HAGLER FAMILY SHARES TALES FROM THEIR MARINA AND ITS CLOSE CREW
A familiar site passing through Brant Beach, Hagler’s Marina store front is only the beginning of the services and bay front access that this multi-generational business provides. Family owned and operated for 39 years, the Hagler Marina story begins with Joe Hagler vacationing on Long Beach Island as a child. Traveling from Oradell in Bergen County, Joe would take the drive down along with his aunt to her vacation home. Taking the back roads, Joe recalls stopping along Route 9 to purchase yarn, supplies or stop at a roadside donut shop. As Joe grew, he began driving his aunt’s car with a three on the tree (steering column). Pulling over whenever she commanded, creating memorable journeys to LBI. In 1980, Joe was working as a Boiler Engineer, when his uncle who was an island real estate agent called him with an opportunity to purchase Sicklinger’s Marina from its owner Frank. The rest as they say, is history.
Hagler’s Marina has kept up with the changes and challenges of technology and service. For over twenty years they established themselves as a Grady-White dealer and recently took on a new line of Release Boats. This decision came with the need to be on the forefront of the best mid class small recreational fishing and family boats. They also made the switch from a Mercury Outboard dealer to Yamaha. As a fully certified Yamaha Outboard Service Center, their highly trained technicians have access to a full line of parts and supplies. Joe is now joined by his daughter, Danni, and son-in-law Steve Haggart; working part time during the busy season. Keeping family together seems to work everywhere on site; the company also have a father and son mechanic team. The family admits that working together is usually a blast, but it does come with challenges. Everyone takes great pride in the business that bears their name and tries to keep personal matters at the door during business hours.
Having a younger generation on board certainly is helpful with technological changes. Joe Hagler states how Danni has been able to use her skills building a new website and enhancing their marketing to include social media. Danni traveled and spent time at college and grad school for almost a decade before returning home. She worked abroad before coming back full time to help run the family business. Since opening the business, the Hagler Family has seen many changes in the services people are looking for. Years back, many people wanted to do their own work on the boat. Now, with schedules being busier clients are looking for the marina to assist more. Now, Hagler’s offers boat detailing and other customized work.
The Hagler Family and their staff feel the Long Beach Island region is the best place in the world to grow up and operate a business. They witness the excitement of the area building with each passing year. Whether it is meeting new customers, greeting new businesses opening in the area or toasting a successful season with familiar businesses that are still going strong. The addition of new festivals and popularity of classic LBI events help draw people to the island which helps extend the season. With friends and their families coming earlier and staying later in the season there is a lot to look forward to being involved with this wonderful community.