Forty years ago, a 19-year-old’s first job at Bob’s Boat Mart, located in the Five Points building in East Nashville, helped him launch a long, successful career in boat sales. In 1982, Raymond (Ray) Anderson, who had grown up tinkering with just about anything alongside his Father, brought his love for the outdoors and his mechanical skills into a sweet harmony when he opened Anderson Marine and Family Boating Center.
After the owner of Bob’s Boat Mart retired, Ray took on a role as a mechanic at Commodore Marine in North Nashville. While at Commodore Marine, Ray built a loyal customer base that encouraged him to open his repair shop. With their support, Ray opened Anderson Marine on Dickerson Road in East Nashville. The dream and adventure of Anderson Marine started in a block building with no restroom. Ray continued his hard work, dedication, and service to his customers, and his sales steadily increased, paving the way an expansion. Ray garnered the support of a local banker who helped him obtain a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to expand his company and build a new building in their current location in Old Hickory, Tennessee. As Ray builds, develops, and manages a successful and growing boat sales company, he meets the “joy” of his life.
Joy Anderson worked for a marine finance company and routinely made phone calls to check in with clients. Ray and Joy spoke on the phone for four years and finally met in person when Joy attended the 1995 Nashville Boat Show. The two fell in love and were later married. Ray and Joy Anderson live in Wilson County and have raised two sons, Braxton and Dylan. Braxton Anderson joined the Navy and completed his service. Dylan Anderson became a leader of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga MOCS Bass Anglers Fishing Team and graduated from UTC with a degree in Business. Anderson Marine is a family-owned and family-run business, so Braxton and Dylan are involved in the company's day-to-day operation. They are often seen warmly greeting their clients as they enter their store and repair shop.
Ray and Joy believe boat sales are not as much about the boats as they are about knowing each customer and understanding and meeting their needs. Like most “Mom and Pop” businesses, they have had their fair share of challenges. Of the biggest challenges, they agree that work-life balance can be difficult because “you never technically have a day off.” The desire to have a happy and satisfied customer base can sometimes blur the lines between family and business time. Most of all, the Andersons enjoy the ability to work together as a family and have recently welcomed a new grandchild into the family business.
As parents, The Andersons have always been inspired by nature and getting their children involved in the outdoors. Love for youths and the great outdoors is the catalyst behind their support of a program for local high schools and colleges, The Tennessee B.A.S.S. National High School Angler Series. Ray Anderson says, “It was a long, hard process, but worth it all in the end.” Celebrating four whole decades in business is truly a milestone. The Andersons have not only built a successful boat sales company but also a lifelong legacy focused on love, family, and adventure.