By Debbie Flessner
Throughout the more than 50 years the Siesta Key Marina has been in business, it has remained a favorite spot for both visitors and locals to store and rent boats for a day out on the water. But the new owners of the 3 1/2-acre property hope to turn it into much more than that.
On November 10, Andy Eggebrecht, Maurice Dentici and their families took over ownership of the marina, and considering their backgrounds, it should come as no surprise that they have already started the process of expanding the business. The Dentici family owns the five area Rico's restaurants, while the Eggebrechts own Andros Boatworks, which designs and builds custom hybrid / bay and offshore fishing boats.
Both families have lived in the area for over 30 years, and they knew the previous owner of Siesta Key Marina, Steve Witzer.
"He (Witzer) owns multiple businesses, and now he's at a point where he was ready to get rid of this one," Eggebrecht said. "For Andros, it's (the marina) a really good tie-in, and Maurice (Dentici) is a retail guy, so the two of us make a good pair."
Having grown up here, the two men seem to be approaching the updates to the property from the perspective of people who have been raised on the water. Those customers who love fishing will be happy to see an expanded bait shop, with a great selection of local tackle, and the ship's store is already stocked with boating accessories, snacks and anything else you might need for an enjoyable day on the boat.
Eggebrecht says that boat owners who are storing their prized possession in the Siesta Key Marina's 243-boat dry dock facility will especially appreciate the new service department, another benefit of the Andros affiliation.
"We have full, 100% boat maintenance, repair and rebuild capabilities," he said. "We're looking to make our service department the best on the west coast of Florida. No other marina here has those capabilities."
Siesta Key Marina is a Volvo-Penta authorized warranty repair service center, and they can service and repair Yamaha, Mercury and Merc Cruiser boats, as well. Also included in their list of services are fiberglass repair, boat bottom painting and boat detailing.
The marina's rental boat fleet is being expanded with brand new boats, and there are plans in the works to put a tour boat on the water, which will offer local excursions.
One of the updates Eggebrecht and Dentici seem most excited about is intended to take full advantage of both their new acquisition's waterfront location and the Dentici family's expertise.
The property where the marina lies is exceptional, right next to the Stickney Point Bridge and with wide-open Intracoastal Waterway access. Dentici says that is the perfect spot to build a restaurant.
"Our plans are to make a tiki bar/restaurant there," he said. "We want to do local, fresh seafood and a small, but local menu. It will be one of the few places in the area where you can pull up by boat and eat."
Their goal is to have the new eatery open by Spring, if not before. Initially, though, the families will be bringing in a food truck, from which people can order lunch and then enjoy eating it at the waterfront picnic tables that are already in place.
Though the Siesta Key Marina was already known to be a place where one could rent boats and other watercraft, both Eggebrect and Dentici say that with the new changes, their hope is to be a true full-service marina, in every sense of the word.
"Our main focus is to make this a pedestrian-friendly and kid-friendly place," Dentici said. "This really is a hidden gem."
The Siesta Key Marina is located at 1265 Old Stickney Point Road, on Siesta Key, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. The new owners are now actively seeking strategic partners to occupy some of their existing retail space. For more information, visit the website at www.SiestaKeyMarina.com, or call 941-349-1970.