Hesston Pennsylvania- Seven Points Marina, located on Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania has been selected to receive the Large Marina of the Year Award for 2010. The award is presented by “Marina Dock Age Magazine”, the premier voice of the marina industry and the award is a national designation. The marina was founded by Mr. James Filson, a native of Altoona, Pennsylvania who has been in the marine business for 65 years. “To receive this honor at this time in my life and after all these years is gratifying”, said Filson who continues to work with his son BJ and two daughters, Pauline and Pam at the marina. Jim who is now 86 continues to play an active role every day at the marina. The marina is a 941 slip facility, offers seasonal houseboat and pontoon rentals, a marina store and a restaurant. They are open from April to October, yearly.
Marina spokesperson Pam Filson Prosser, Jim’s Daughter, applauds the crew at the marina and mostly her father and his lifelong dedication to the marine industry. “My father and mother started in the marine industry in 1946 and we three children were expected to contribute to the success of the business while we were young. That blossomed into a passion for the industry as well for all the kids. My father and brother, BJ Filson, laid a solid foundation for the business and my sister, “Sis” Pauline Filson Hetrick, and I are now responsible for continuing with his vision. That vision above all is a commitment to service, in a “family friendly” environment.
Seven Points Marina
Conceived by the founder, Jim Filson, and originally called Jim’s Anchorage, the original marina was on the old Raystown Dam. Mr. Filson, a native of Altoona and a school teacher of history and science in Huntingdon, loved the water and spent his summers building the marina business. The first Jim’s Anchorage consisted of one small wood building, fifteen by twenty feet, a steep dirt launch ramp and six docks, all reached by a dusty red shale road. Mr. Filson opened for business with an initial investment of $500 for the purchase of land and four used rowboats. That was in 1946. By 1952 he was operating a snack bar and a small store for the sale and servicing of boating equipment.
The Filson Marina gradually developed into a popular boating, water skiing and fishing center, offering a wide range of activities. Home of the Raystown Boat Club and the Raystown Ski Club, the original marina featured ski shows, boat tours, jeep tours overlooking the lake and dances during the summer. By 1960 Jim’s Anchorage had expanded to include a boat and motor dealership, three different areas for campers and trailers, three additional boat docking areas, a 140 slip marina, rental cottages and 350 acres of land. During this time Jim’s wife Margaret, his son and two daughters worked alongside of him. Jim’s children are responsible for the operation of the marina to this day. The original marina was located about three miles north of the current marina and the old lake was only about 8 miles long with 30 miles of shoreline.
In 1970, the United States Corps of Engineers purchased the original marina as they decided to build a larger reservoir that we are enjoying today and is also called Raystown Lake. This lake is the largest inland lake in Pennsylvania with 118 miles of shoreline, a 34 miles long pool and 27 miles in the recreational pool. The old marina is 100 feet under the water today and is close to marker number 5. Although Jim and his family were discouraged to lose the original business built from scratch and subject to emanate domain, Mr. Filson was fortunate to be the winning bidder for a concession on this new lake called the Seven Points Marina.
In like fashion, Jim started from scratch again and built the marina that we enjoy today. Seven Points Marina has 661 docks that are rented seasonally, 20 transient docks and 265 rack or dry storage docks. In addition, there are 19 houseboats, 9 pontoons and six utility boats that are for rent daily. A restaurant and a store are also on the property as well as the largest breakwater on the lake. This 500 foot breakwater is home to many private houseboats and helps protect the rest of the marina from rough water.
Anna Townshend [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org], Editor for Marina Dock Age Magazine said the following: “Seven Points Marina has a rich tradition on Lake Raystown, beginning as a marina on the lake in 1946. Still family-owned nearly 65 years later, the marina has spent years serving customers, perfecting the practices of good hospitality. The marina is an integral part of the community as both a place of social gathering and an economic engine for the local tourism industry.
The current marina results from years of upgrades and additions, and Seven Points Marina has had a waiting list since its inception. Over the years, Seven Points built and expanded upon a dry stack facility with a current capacity for 285 boats and expanded its wet slips to 661. The marina has a strategic plan for upgrades over the next 10 years, including researching and designing a floating facility for administrative offices and rental center and a restaurant and floating pier.
Its rental fleet of boats also serves as integral part of the business. Over the last few years, the marina has invested $200,000 to upgrade the fleet and grow its share of the rental market.
The marina’s stellar marketing plan centers on its creative branding. In 2008, Seven Points Marina redesigned its logo and adopted the slogan, “Come out and Play.” In addition to its advertising efforts, local public relations are an important part of the brand and situate the marina as a leader in the community. It is involved with numerous community organizations, including the local Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity and local hospitals and colleges, donating time and space to local events and charities.
In 1946, Peg and Jim Filson bought a piece of land on what was, at the time, a 10-mile lake, and their marina quickly became a focal point of the lake. Now, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concessionaire, Seven Points Marina continues the tradition, serving boaters and the community with its personal touch.
Dwight Beall, Operations Manager for the US Corps of Engineers had the following to say. “An award well deserved by the Seven Points Marina as they celebrate their 36th year on beautiful Raystown Lake. Seven Points Marina succeeds through a dedicated leadership, diversity of services offered and an ability to adapt to the changing world of recreational boating. There are many marinas on many Corps of Engineers lake across the nation, but the Seven Points Marina is an excellent example of excellence to its customers and a prototype for excellence in operations. I congratulate this group and their many accomplishments. If you chase perfection, you often catch excellence."
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