Annapolis Yacht Sales is one of the fastest-growing private companies in America

Annapolis Yacht Sales (AYS) has earned a place on the 2018 Inc magazine 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America, docking at number 4,389 with a reported US$45.2m in revenue last year and 75% growth over a three-year period.

The 65-year-old Maryland company finds itself on a list usually associated with much younger businesses in emerging market segments like technology or the legal cannabis trade. Firms are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2014 to 2017. To qualify, companies must be US-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent – not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies – as of 31 December, 2017.

AYS, which claims to be the largest yacht brokerage on the Chesapeake Bay, reports an increase in 2018 revenue through midyear of 5.1% over 2017, with a 37.6% increase in gross profit.

“I thought the partnership was interesting and thought it would make sense to submit AYS to the Inc 5000,” AYS CEO Rob Taishoff told the Washington Business Journal. “We have experienced significant growth since I acquired the business and we fit all the criteria.”

Taishoff, a 23-year Navy veteran and two friends who were also recently retired from active military duty, purchased the company for US$1.25m in 2012. He said an evaluation conducted a year ago found the company to be worth between US$4m and US$6m.

“With that growth came a lot of pain, however,” said Taishoff, adding the company had been operating on $13.5m in infrastructure costs before hiring a consultant. “You can’t operate on that infrastructure without things starting to fall short.”

In addition to Annapolis, AYS has locations on Kent Island, Maryland, as well as Deltaville and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The full-service dealer/brokerage sells Beneteau, Lagoon, Monterey, Edgewater, Greenline Hybrids, Vanquish, Stieger Craft and Cruiser Yachts, providing a variety of price points and boat types in sail and power.

“People don’t need boats. No matter how big or small it is, it’s a luxury item,” Taishoff said “Boats are very much driven by the emotion associated with the economy.”