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New Marine Brokering Company is an Economic Vote of Confidence

Confidence in the Michigan economy and a passion for controlling personal economic destiny is foremost on Stephanie Zanon’s mind this month as she celebrates the opening of her new venture Ahoy! Marine Specialist. Located in a small marina at 32575 South River Road in Harrison Township, Zanon’s marine brokering company reaches out to customers beyond the sale with a full line of services such as marine transporting, color restoration and waxing, custom vinyl and wraps, and bottom painting. It also offers custom marine electronics and interiors. “Our goal is to build a continuous relationship with our customers,” said Zanon, explaining that most boat brokering relationships end with the sale of the boat. Zanon, a December Walsh College graduate with a bachelor of science in business management, is joined in business by her husband Jim and their friend Tom Sepesi. The trio started brainstorming potential businesses after the auto-industry-dependent transportation company Jim and Sepesi worked for went bankrupt. “My husband has been involved with boats his entire life and has a knack for finding boats for friends. Ahoy! Marine Specialist is the result of his lifelong passion for boats - a passion that I’ve grown to appreciate and enjoy,” said Zanon. Although the group began discussing their venture two years ago, it wasn’t until recently that they felt confident enough in the economy to bring their idea to fruition. Zanon turned to her alma mater’s Blackstone LaunchPad program for guidance. “You can dream, but you want to make sure you have a solid business plan and are following the correct procedures when you launch a business,” said Zanon. “Blackstone LaunchPad provided us with insightful brainstorming, great contacts for business, insurance, and legal representation - and helped us through the state registration process.” Zanon’s hope for her company’s future is to become a nationally known business with year-round operations. “Customers in the southern states like Michigan boats because they haven’t been subjected to the eroding effects of salt water,” she said. Zanon and her partners are celebrating the grand opening of Ahoy! Marine Specialist by inviting the public to a hot dog lunch every Saturday in June from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. About Walsh College and Wayne State University Blackstone LaunchPad Funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and in partnership with New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, Automation Alley, University of Miami, Walsh College and Wayne State University - this program helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop and launch their businesses. As the first of its kind in Michigan, it offers fully enrolled Walsh students and degreed Walsh alumni; and Wayne State University students - the opportunity to assess the feasibility of their ideas for starting and growing for-profit and non-profit ventures.

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