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How this boating business is staying afloat through the pandemic



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Need a bit of a change of pace from all of the bleak COVID-19 news? Here’s an uplifting story about how a small business is keeping its operations going and its staff employed through the pandemic—and helping many other businesses in its region do the same. 

When state governments began shutting down industries in response to the outbreak, many businesses in the transportation industry were deemed “essential” and allowed to stay open. But Dry Dock Marine Center, one of Indiana’s largest authorized dealers of boating equipment, had already been playing an essential role in the Midwestern boating industry for years. 

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An essential business—long before COVID-19

Dry Dock Marine Center has one of the region’s largest onsite inventories of new and used boats and accessories, as well as a thriving ecommerce store. But although they sell directly to consumers, the company’s real business is supplying the many smaller boating equipment companies throughout Indiana and neighboring states.

Hundreds of mom-and-pop retailers count on Dry Dock Marine Center to supply their own stores.

That’s one reason Dry Dock Marine Center’s ability to continue serving customers during the lockdown was so valuable. It meant the company was able to keep not only its own staff employed while working from home, but also many other boating shops operating and their staff employed as well.

Much of Dry Dock Marine Center’s success at transitioning to remote work during COVID-19 can be attributed to the dedication and hard work of its team. But the company also gives a lot of the credit to its work-from-anywhere cloud phone solution.

A local communications emergency that led to a… better system?

The company switched to RingCentral by necessity (actually, more in a panic) when a neighborhood outage took down its phone service just before the July 4th weekend. That meant Dry Dock Marine Center would have been inaccessible to customers—during one of the busiest times of the year for the boating business.

When he called the phone company (from his personal cell phone, of course), General Manager Cory Archbold found out they wouldn’t be able to restore service to the local businesses for weeks.

So, Cory hopped online and started researching cloud phone systems. He wanted his team to be able to take and make business calls from anywhere, because he knew their phones were going to be ringing off the hook all the way through July 4th.

 “In less than an hour after I said, ‘Let’s do it,’ RingCentral was forwarding our business calls to our cell phones,” he recalls. “It was incredible.”

 Smooth sailing through the shutdown

But what’s even more incredible is that when the coronavirus outbreak forced Dry Dock Marine Center’s employees to suddenly shift to working from home, the company didn’t suffer any of the disruptions that have undermined operations at so many other businesses.

Again, the company gives much of the credit to RingCentral.

“The employees are all using the RingCentral apps on their computers and cell phones,” says Cory. Speaking of which, here’s what the desktop app (also available on mobile!) looks like:

 “They’re able to communicate with customers by phone and even text messaging using our business numbers. Our customers just assume they’re reaching us in our offices.” 

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Explore the RingCentral Advantage for small businesses:

💰 You can also use this calculator to see roughly how much your business could save by using RingCentral to support your team’s communication with each other—and clients.

Want to dig deeper?

Check out the Dry Dock Marine case study.

Originally published May 06, 2020, updated Feb 24, 2022

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