What are the odds that five siblings would work in harmony, expand and transform their father's service and sales business, and be named the nation's top dealer, two years running, by Boating Industry magazine? Meet the Galatis, who have built their business on exceeding expectations.
By John Burnham
Photos by Eric Stammer
For a while, it was hard to get all the boats commissioned on time, so Joe set up a team in one location for what he dubbed "Single Point Make-Ready." This crew brought a consistent set of skills to bear on boat preparation, minimizing problems customers might have when they took delivery.
When service teams were losing valuable time on the road, Mike equipped the trucks with cameras and mobile e-mail. He also developed databases of photos and sea-trial data, which come in handy months and even years later when a customer calls in with a problem.
As the company has expanded, screening new hires has become an ever-larger challenge. Fran introduced the use of background checks and personality/behavioral testing for new hires to help put the right type of people into the right type of jobs.
Even before the current economic slowdown, Galati Yacht Sales had begun a concerted effort to grow its brokerage business, investing in Certified Professional Yacht Broker training for all brokers. According to Carmine, although Florida brokerage sales have been well off in the last year, Galatis' sales have been flat—a big gain in market share.
Many decisions can be difficult—like any time you decide to floor plan a $1.5 million boat. Despite that, Carmine said, "I don't ever remember an argument among us. The No. 1 lesson we learned is about respect; everything comes from that. Each of us has thought things through before we take each other's time with a discussion.
"When Dad died, we made a pact. If I'm sure of what I want, I can say, 'It's important to me.' Use of those words makes a difference."
The success of the Galati siblings has been "more than a Mom's dream come true," Anna Maria said. "When they won the Boating Industry award, Joe dedicated it to me. I cried for two weeks every time I thought about it."
Holding back a tear as she did, Anna Maria told me one more story: She was in line at the grocery store one day, overhearing a woman talking about buying a boat and saying how great the Galati family was. "What could be better for a mother to hear than that?" she asked me. I couldn't think of anything.