New owners celebrated at Boat House, Fresh Market

Beach Business: Seabrook sales soar in 2017, Co-Op meeting sparks ideas to increase tourism

The change at the helm of the Ocean Shores Boat House (formerly the Electric Boat Co.) was completed March 24 when new owners Steve and Maria Borba cut the ceremonial ribbon on the freshwater boat business with retiring former owners Tom and Nancy Kimzey.

At a ceremony hosted by the Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce, Tom Kimzey also handed over a series of keys to the business, which was renamed by the Borbas and stocked with several new watercraft.

“We would like to thank Tom and Nancy for being such loyal members for so many years. You are definitely a big part of this community,” said Piper Leslie, Chamber executive director.

The Kimzeys began the business at the south end of Point Brown Avenue in 2005, and the Borbas take over after Steve’s career in the Navy.

“We were thinking about selling the place a few years ago, and we were online, and all of a sudden I get an email from Steve and Maria, who were back east,” Tom Kimzey said. The Borbas were living in Maryland and were basically fishing for a business like the Electric Boat Co.

“With some ups and downs, and some peaks and valleys, we finally come to this point in time where we are transferring everything over,” Tom Kimzey added, pulling out several items to hand over to the Borbas.

The items included the captain’s hats he and Nancy used to wear out on the waterways.

“We want to wish you guys the most success,” Tom Kimzey said. “We’ve had a good run, and it’s a fantastic community to work with. We just love these people. The best comes out in people when they are out having a good time on the water. It’s just so much fun.”

Nancy added: “It’s been a great adventure. I knew nothing about boats basically, so for me it was a fast learning experience. The people have been great, as long as they haven’t been drinking alcohol before they walk in.”

She thanked the Borbas for buying the business “site unseen, and to take our word for it.”

“That’s accurate,” Steve Borba acknowledged.

“You guys made it so easy for us and gave us all the information we needed,” Maria added.

Fresh Market festivities

The Chamber also celebrated the opening of another blossoming business at the south end of the Ocean Shores peninsula this past Saturday with a ceremony at the new Oyhut Bay Fresh Market. Both events included Chamber Ambassadors and board members, Mayor Crystal Dingler, several City Council members, and the Oyhut Bay event featured hamburgers, hot dogs, cake and parting gifts for all.

Owners Carlos and Lori Villarreal moved to Ocean Shores from Austin, Texas, and like the Borbas, saw an opportunity to operate a business in a community where they have come to live. The market marks the first of several commercial additions — a bike shop and a move of Namaste massage studio and shop — to the Oyhut Bay development off Marine View Drive. The Fresh market highlights a number of local products, organic, fresh produce and grocery staples.

“We are really excited to be here and thank everyone,” Carlos said.

Seabrook home sales soar

Seabrook has announced more than $40.7 million in total home sales during 2017, a 25 percent increase from 2016. The rise in sales over the past year coincides with the town’s significant 2018 expansion that will include new single-family homes, townhomes, neighborhoods and 15 new merchants.

“When we set out to build Seabrook, we truly believed that people were looking for a completely different lifestyle experience than what has been traditionally offered at ‘resort communities’ over the past 50 years,” said Founder, Casey Roloff. “Last year’s dramatic increase in home sales is a testament to that belief and we continue to see a strong demand for the new product offerings that are coming in 2018. We are excited to draw more home buyers and visitors as we cement Seabrook’s status as a thriving, inclusive community.”

Within the past month, Seabrook has showcased 13 new homes in its otherwise sold-out Farm District, including The Croft, a new Farm District courtyard park surrounded by nine homes. The Croft, meaning “small farm,” includes a fire pit with Adirondack chairs around it, casual seating areas, a grassy lawn and a corn hole installation. Homes now selling in The Croft are priced from the mid-$400,000 to mid-$500,000 range and consist of two- and three-bedroom floor plans. Four of the new Farm District homes have already been sold. Overall, Seabrook has already sold just over $8 million in total homes sales in 2018.

To learn more about Seabrook, visit

Co-Op marketing meeting

About 30 people turned out for a March 29 public meeting of the Ocean Shores Marketing Co-Op that included a number of ideas designed to increase tourism and lay the groundwork for a future advertising campaign.

The meeting at the Ocean Shores Convention Center was moderated by KJET-FM radio’s Johnny Manson, who also promotes events locally. Ideas ranged from building a driftwood chapel for beach-area weddings, to food cart competitions, chili cookoff, a winery, distillery competition or brewery, more advertising promoting the area’s Bigfoot lore, high school marching band competitions for the Flag Day Parade, a drone expo or robotics showcase event.

The Co-Op is a non-profit effort to promote the area that has received funding from the city of Ocean Shores Lodging Tax revenue, and previously had matching funds from the business community. This year, according to the Co-Op, there is $35,000 to start the advertising budget.

“The Co-Op started out as a think tank. It was a group to help tourism through improving or adding events to our area,” Manson explained at the meeting. It began with the old Tourism Action Group (TAG).

That evolved into a campaign, “Ocean Shores/More than a Beach” that was carried on bus panels in the Seattle metro area.

Several of those in attendance urged the Co-Op to invest in online media and social media advertising to help build a focused brand for Ocean Shores. The Co-Op’s website was called a “landing page” at, which features links to local tourism-related information. The idea would be to show Ocean Shores as “more than a beach” with an aerial photo or video that depicts the fresh waterways, the ocean, the Harbor and how the residential areas are laid out.

The Co-op also announced a “branding” photo/logo contest. The photo currently used as “branding” Ocean Shores is the stump on the beach with the children and the dog.

The owner of the winning photo/logo will receive a $100 gift card and possibly photo/logo credit if used. You need to be able to show you own the photo/logo if it is chosen as the winner. The deadline for the contest is Tuesday, May 1. Send entries in .jpg format to