|For over 60 years Mercury has been engineering, building and providing the best marine power in the world. In both freshwater and salt - for everyone from weekend warriors to people whose livelihood depends on their marine power - Mercury has consistently offered the strongest, fastest, smartest, and toughest marine power anywhere. And all in order to bring you the most integrated product offering on the water - with everything you need from prop to helm.|
It's why no other manufacturer has the support of so many of the world's top anglers and organizations. And it's why no one's able to provide better support for your time on the water - thanks to the most extensive dealer and service network in the industry. Fact is; the water has been our sole focus for every one of our 60-plus years. And this year we're finding all-new way of bringing you exactly what you want from your time on it.
When you meet Bruce Cunningham – founder of Cunningham’s Marine, you’ll find out that he’s just as comfortable helping a customer with a decision about a $5,000 tinnie as he is running a multi-million dollar operation.
“We’re all about serving all of the normal Queensland boaties,” Bruce explains. “It doesn’t matter if you want to re-power your 12 footer, or take a test drive in new Cobalt; we’re here to help you.”
Indeed, Cunningham’s new premise – opened in 2007 – has been designed to make the off-water boating experience as easy as possible.
Featuring over 7000 square metres of outdoor and undercover showroom space as well as a full marine chandlery store, Cunningham has identified and improved aspects of the boating business that need to be brought up to scratch.
“To be honest, we’re trying to achieve a level of service that customers expect in other industries, and the new site addresses lots of issues that we’ve had at the old premises,” Bruce continued.
As well as a massive service section with drive-in access, there’s ample on and off-street customer parking, room for a huge number of boats on-site and even a coffee shop to complete the experience.
When asked how many boats the new yard would hold, Bruce answered honestly. “I’ve got no idea … 200 maybe?” And checking the site out, that may be an under-estimate. 250 is more like it.
Visitors to Redcliffe will find Cunningham’s Marine on the service road off Snook Street – a continuation of Elizabeth Ave – at numbers 51-59. But you won’t need to know the numbers to find the yard. You’ll see it coming.
Talking with Bruce about his business, it’s obvious that he’s met every challenge thrown at him so far. Originally a motorcycle mechanic, Bruce’s first yard was in Ingham, north Queensland. The Chrysler dealership quickly picked up Suzuki and Marine and became Ingham Motorcycles and Marine.
Moving to Brisbane in 1989, he purchased Margate Motors and Marine in Oxley Avenue.
“There wasn’t much boat stock there, and the place also sold lawnmowers as well as the original Tohatsu and Allycraft franchise,” Bruce said. “In fact, we were the very first Allycraft dealer – anywhere!”
In 1994, Cunningham picked up the Allison Boats and Mercury brands. Subsequently, they’ve won awards for Dealer of the Year for Queensland and for the Australia/South Pacific area. “Not bad for a dealership that the other local dealers gave six months until we were out of business,” he smiled.
In 2001 Cunningham’s picked up Trailcraft, in 2002 Polycraft and in 2005 the imported SeaSwirl Boats, starting a relationship with marine giant Genmar that yielded Stratos and Glastron in 2006. The luxury, imported Cobalt boats are the latest brand available at the dealership. Brooker is the latest addition to the aluminium craft line up.
RIGHT HAND MAN
Ian Cunningham , Bruce’s younger brother, has been with Bruce for nearly all of the time the business has been growing. Starting as Bruce’s 15-year-old apprentice mechanic, Ian is the Operations Manager at Cunningham’s Marine.
And if we thought Bruce was hard to identify as the business leader, Ian is even harder. We had to drag him away from delivery of a tiny tinnie to get his pic taken!
You’d think that Cunningham’s success was born of a deep love of power boating, but it’s not that at all. “I actually like dealing with the boating public,” Bruce explained. “The boating industry and its customers must be the best people in the world to deal with.” When you think about it, your local boat dealer is ALWAYS going to be more popular than the local parking inspector, policeman or tax collector.
A year or two ago, it seemed as though Bruce was contemplating retirement.
“This new yard and taking the business to the next level has stuffed those plans, I suppose?” I asked.
“I really enjoy the challenge of these new projects,” Bruce said, “whether it’s a new brand we’re bringing on line or a new yard, I really enjoy bringing it all together.”
With the ongoing support of wife, Lorraine, daughters and grandkids, the future is looking good!
AT A GLANCE
Established in 1989
Situated in Redcliffe
Over 150 years of boating experience behind the counter
3 certified Mercury mechanics
450m2 of undercover showroom
Platinum Mercury Outboard Dealer
Queensland’s largest Ally Craft dealership
Queensland's oldest & largest Trailcraft dealer
Trailcraft / Allycraft / Polycraft Dealer of the Year
Numerous customer service & Sales awards
2004 Mercury Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Performance in all aspects of Marine Retailing.
Mercury/Mercruiser/Suzuki/we service all makes and models
Mechanical repairs and servicing to all makes and models of outboards.
We employ only Mercury factory trained Certified Service Technicians.
Mercury, Mariner, Mercruiser and Suzuki are our specialty.
With Race breed technicians in our team, we can also cater for your high performance boats.
We use state-of-the art digital diagnostic equipment.
Boat fit-out or re-fits. From full boat rewire to fitting sounders, radios, and live bait tanks, bait boards etc.
Ski boat set-up and tuning at Cunningham's Marine