I am an architect and developer. I have an established, successful practice in a Chicago suburb. I built a beautiful lake home in Wisconsin, 1.5 hours north of home. The lake home has an EZ Dock floating dock, which we leave in year round and love. We couldn’t stand covering/uncovering boat, so I drew on my experience designing restaurant and office building canopies to design a cantilevered shelter that wouldn’t require a boat lift (can’t stand them, and with our short boating season there’s no reason to lift the boat up and down).
We designed and built what was to become the first Pier-Port shelter in 2013. We made every mistake possible – metal too heavy, fabric too light, not wind proofed, etc – so had to correct and build new, but we LOVED the way it changed our boating experience. We could get to the house late Friday and take a moonlight cruise (didn’t want to uncover before). We could pull in and out, jump on the waverunner, back on the pontoon, etc. We could pull in during a shower, relax with guests and cocktails, and pull right back out when the sun re-emerged. We could sit, protected from the hot sun, and use the pontoon like a houseboat. We could enjoy the boat all day, late Sunday boating before leaving, because I didn’t cover it back up Saturday night and get too lazy to uncover again Sunday. Etc, Etc.
People started pulling up asking about where to get one. I started telling them that we built it only for ourselves, because we were super-lazy and didn’t want to mess with covers. They ALL told us that we were not unique…EVERYONE can’t stand wrestling with covers. We sensed the need for this, invested hundreds of thousands building and equipping a shop, perfecting them over the next few years, and here we are. We’re in the US and Canada, 19 states and growing, with NO advertising. We work a couple boating shows a year, rely on word of mouth, people seeing them on the water and finding us. It’s a bit surreal, but we LOVE it. It’s a great feeling to know we built and patented a better mousetrap that has enhanced the lives of boaters everywhere.