Member Spotlight: Freedom Boat Club

Posted By: Abby Schiano Member Spotlight,
Check out the Member Spotlight Video below! 

In the vibrant Hampton Roads community, Andy Sutter’s Freedom Boat Club franchises have become a cornerstone for local boating enthusiasts. As a membership-only club with over 400 locations worldwide, it offers unparalleled access to the joys of boating. Since opening the Hampton Roads locations in 2018, Andy Sutter, a Navy veteran, has dedicated himself to fostering a welcoming and supportive environment for members, all while being backed by the industry powerhouse, the Brunswick Corporation.

Andy Sutter's journey into the boat club business was driven by a lifelong dream of owning his own business. After serving in the Navy, the opportunity to purchase franchises presented itself as the perfect way to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his love for the water. Since opening the doors of the Hampton Roads locations (Portsmouth, Newport News, and Norfolk) the club has been committed to building a strong, community-focused business that serves the local area with pride.

Like any business, Sutter's boat club franchises have faced their share of challenges. One of the primary hurdles has been educating the community about what a boat club is and the benefits it offers. The COVID-19 pandemic also posed significant challenges, disrupting normal operations and leading to a decline in memberships. However, as the world began to reopen, the club adapted by emphasizing the unique experiences and advantages it provides, helping to reengage and grow its membership base.

The greatest success of Andy’s businesses lies in the development of his employees. The focus has been on nurturing them into exceptional leaders and advocates for the boating lifestyle. This commitment to the team, coupled with a strong franchise system, sets the club apart from competitors.

Looking ahead, Sutter has ambitious plans for expansion within Hampton Roads. Over the next decade, the goal is to open more locations, broadening the reach and continuing to bring the joy of boating to even more community members. The vision is to create a network of boat clubs that serve as hubs for education, recreation, and community engagement.

For those considering embarking on their own business journey, Andy Sutter offers this advice: ensure you have a reliable CPA and a good therapist. The initial years will be financially challenging, and the workload can be overwhelming. Having someone to talk to and provide professional guidance is invaluable. The road to success is paved with hard work and dedication, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Andy Sutter's connection to the community is anchored in a commitment to excellent customer service and education. The club offers unlimited free training to its members, empowering them to operate vessels safely and confidently. Through these efforts, the club not only fosters a love for boating but also builds lasting relationships within the community.

Join Andy Sutter's Freedom Boat Club franchises and experience the difference that passion, dedication, and community focus can make. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or new to the world of boating, the club welcomes you to be a part of this exciting journey.