Watercraft Sales Celebrates 100 Years
Three Lakes business specializes in sales and service
Beginning in 1917, the pride of offering an outstanding product and unmatched customer service has built 100 years of business for Watercraft Sales of Three Lakes.
“We specialize in sales, service, and rentals for the Three Lakes–Eagle River Chain of Lakes and Wisconsin’s North Woods,” owner John Lamon said. “We’ve been helping people fulfill their boating dreams since 1917. With customers wanting to gain the most from their leisure time, our staff is available to help you make the correct decisions.”
Watercraft Sales strives to exceed their customers’ expectations by offering top-quality boat brands from the Tracker group, including SunTracker pontoons, Tahoe deck boats, and Nitro fishing boats. The full-service dealer also offers customers Nautique wake and ski boats, Bennington pontoon boats, Sea Ray sport boats, and Boston Whaler boats. Services offered include boat rentals, fiberglass repair, boat repair boat storage detailing and winterization, gelcoat repair, shrinkwrapping, and snowmobile rentals.
The history of the business itself is one that is filled with success.
Watercraft Sales has had several owners before current owners, the Lamon family, grabbed hold of it in 1960.
Growing up in Three Lakes, Lamon Sr. always wanted to own a business when he got older. After graduating from Three Lakes High School he attended college at UW-Madison before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force at the start of World War II. After getting his wings, Lamon Sr. piloted the B-29 Super fortress over Japan. He was shot down and eventually became a prisoner of war. Living to tell about it, he returned home and with his wife, Betty, moved to Chicago, near her family. Summers spent up north quickly grew into a love of the North Woods, and eventually to his purchase of the Watercraft Sales business.
“He was well-liked in the community and his customers appreciated the hands-on approach he provided,” said Lamon Jr. “He would often arrive to perform service calls via his sea plane.”
Lamon Sr.’s son and daughters learned the meaning of hard work by working under their father’s watch at Watercraft Sales. Lamon Jr. served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, and returned to Three Lakes with his wife, Noreen. He worked at Watercraft Sales with the intent to make it a career. Having managed Watercraft Sales since the mid-80’s, Lamon Jr. and Noreen took over ownership officially in 1990. After Lamon Sr. lost his battle with stomach cancer in the summer of 1991, he left a void in the family and the business.
“His infectious laugh and personality used to fill the air,” said Lamon Jr.
After taking control, Lamon Jr. continued to manage the business and it grew in both service and sales.
In addition to being the oldest Nautique dealership in the world, Watercraft picked up brands such as Sea Ray and Boston Whaler in the early ’90s. They began selling Bennington pontoons in 1997, making them the first Bennington dealer in Wisconsin.
“We continue to strive for excellence, and recently became the North Woods’ exclusive White River Marine Group dealer by selling and servicing their famous Tracker, Suntracker, Tahoe, and Nitro boat lines,” Lamon Jr. said.
With a goal of continually striving to satisfy customers’ needs, Watercraft Sales is positioned for growth and sustainability. Lamon Jr.’s son, John Ryan Lamon, was recently named vice president and is the third generation in the business.
“Watercraft Sales just keeps going and growing,” Lamon Jr. said. “One key element that will never change is our concern for meeting our customers’ needs.”
Watercraft Sales serves the areas of Conover, Crandon, Eagle River, Iron Mountain, Michigan, Lac du Flambeau, Lake Tomahawk, Land O’ Lakes, Manitowish Waters, Minocqua, Rhinelander, Woodruff, and Three Lakes. As Aug. 5 approaches, the crew at Watercraft Sales will be gearing up for a 100th-year customer appreciation celebration.
“We are very grateful to our past and present customers for our success, and look forward to delivering the boating dream for many years to come,” said Lamon Jr.