BIZ BEAT: Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center expanding in spring

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 1:36 pm on Monday, January 14, 2013

The team at Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center is comprised of, from left, Niles Thompson, Mike Pierson, Jeremy Thompson, Kathy Pierson and owner Bob Gilman. The facility will be expanding this spring.

SIX LAKES — If there’s a motor under the hood, chances are Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center will be able to fix it. The showroom and shop have been serving the community’s auto and marine needs since officially opening in 2011.

According to owner Bob Gilman, the success of the business to date is directly responsible for the expansion planned for this spring.

The shop prides itself on maintaining state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment comparable to what can be found at any dealership.

“We have all the latest and greatest,” Gilman said. “We can do what any dealer can for any brand. We have the computer systems and we have the technicians. All the programs in the world don’t mean anything if your tech person isn’t the best. Without him, it’s all worthless.”

Gilman’s top mechanic, Mike Pierson, worked for Chrysler for 31 years and, according to Gilman, is one of the best “techs” around.

One of the most important services the shop provides, according to Pierson, is performing inspections on used vehicles for potential buyers.

“We do a lot of those,” Pierson said. “It’s only $20 for a complete inspection and we’ve got no stake in it, so people get an honest opinion about the vehicle.”

Auto technician Mike Pierson inspects a used vehicle for a customer.

Even though Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center has blossomed into a booming business, it began, Gilman said, as nothing more than something fun to do to pass the time.

“We officially started Sept. 7, 2011,” Gilman explained. “It was just a hobby prior to that date. Then, I guess you could say everything got serious.”
The business now boasts a full parts department for boats, as well as a full collision center.

“We have all the latest technology there as well, along with all the stuff the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) and those folks ask for,” Gilman said. “We can custom match all the colors on the new cars with a color matching system that’s much better than what they used to use.”

The spring expansion will be primarily to the collision shop, where a new 80-feet by 80-feet building will be added.

Jeremy Thompson puts the finishing touches on a new pontoon boat panel at Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center.

“After that, we’ll turn the 40-feet by 60-feet building into our showroom,” Gilman said. “Half of that will be devoted to boats and we’ll have mechanical items on the other side; windshield wipers and so on.”

The business will continue to offer such services as boat shrink wrapping, boat storage, small engine repair and complete auto and marine repair. Lake Montcalm Boat & Auto Center also carries a complete line of truck accessories and recently began carrying a line of remote auto-starters.

The business is at 4511 Lake Montcalm Road in Six Lakes.

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