Dallas Company Buys Two Marinas, Offers $75,000 in Finder’s Fee

Galveston Yacht Basin
Image by TopSide Marinas

A Dallas company backed by a billionaire has bought two marinas and is offering a $75,000 finder’s fee for more.

Stephen Lehn and Jacob Boan, who grew up boating in Texas and Kansas, founded a company that acquires marinas nationwide.

“I grew up around marinas but didn’t know there could be a job behind them,” said Lehn in an interview with the Morning News. As an adult, Lehn turned his boating hobby into an investment opportunity and named it TopSide Marinas. “I saw them as just a place to park your boat. Now, I have to pinch myself.”

The two met when Lehn recruited Boan Suntex Marina Investors, a Dallas company with a network of marinas all over the U.S.

Both men would later become friends, and together they started a business plan for TopSide Marinas in late 2018. Their plans came to fruition with a business launch in January 2020. The founders had financial backing from Dallas’ Miramar Equity Partners and billionaire Bob Rowling’s TRT Holdings, which owns Omni Hotels & Resorts.

TopSide made its first two acquisitions this year in locations popular with North Texans.

Their first acquisition was Beavers Bend Marina on Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. Broken Bow Lake is a popular vacation destination for North Texas residents. This summer, the lake saw more than 200,000 visitors from North Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

TopSide made several improvements to the marina before the holiday season started. The upgrades include twenty new wet slips to make a total of 350 wet slips. The company also acquired new rental boats, bringing its fleet to sixty.

Their second acquisition was Galveston Yacht Basin. Topside bought this marina four months after approaching previous owners Greg Pappas and Rocky Sullivan, both managing partners.

Galveston Yacht Basin is located minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, and it is set to serve around seven million tourists who visit Galveston Island each year. It has five hundred wet slips, 260 dry stack racks, fishing boat charters, fuel, and a retail and bait store.

According to Lehn, TopSide is planning to acquire more marinas all around the U.S. in the next six to 18 months. The company also hopes to purchase two to four marinas in the next year.

Lehn said the company offers a finder’s reward of $75,000 to any person or organization that connects them with a marina they end up buying. Lehn said the goal of the finders fee reward is to accelerate the company’s growth. “We look at marinas every week all over the country from the Southwest to the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast lakes,” he said.

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