By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Now that the weather is warming up and the urge to take the boat on the water is starting to nibble at your thoughts, there's a place here in St. Lucie County that can make sure your marine engines are running smoothly before heading out on the water.
St. Lucie Outboard Marine has been a staple of St. Lucie County for decades, first opening their doors by the causeway back in 1956.
In 1979, Bud and Vicky Tillman stepped into the owner's shoes, and have been bringing quality workmanship to marine engines in and around the Treasure Coast ever since.
"Bud was an aircraft mechanic, and in 1978 was working in the aircraft business," Vicki Tillman said. "As times got tight back then, we wanted to stay in town, and the opportunity came up."
She said Mr. Tillman worked for free for the previous owner and liked what he did, so the couple bought the business that year.
Now, they're located on U.S. 1, just off Midway Road, and are enjoying how loyal their customers are.
"We've established ourselves, and we have lots of regular customers we've seen for years," Ms. Tillman said.
Part of the reason is the personalized feeling a customer gets when they come to the store.
"We don't set appointments," Ms. Tillman said. "But if somebody wants to call ahead, we'll take the information over the phone so that we're ready for them to come in."
St. Lucie Outboard Marine does service and warranty work on every kind of marine engine out there, including Evinrude, Johnson, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha. They also offer custom rigging, repowering, electronics installation and fiberglass repair. They also handle oil changes, tuneups and other marine engine maintenance.
Since the business is so close to the river, there's no shortage of customers.
"We don't really have a season," Ms. Tillman said. "We're here for the year-round fisherman as well as the seasonal residents."
For the do-it-yourselfer, the store offers a vast array of parts for the public to buy.
"We wanted to have a store where everyone was comfortable coming to," Ms. Tillman said.
St. Lucie Outboard Marine is located at 4750 S. U.S. 1 in Fort Pierce. They are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call (772) 464-1440 or visit www.stlucieoutboardmarine.com