Long-standing boat shop on Gun Lake closes after 37 years

When Landman Sales closes its doors on June 1, it will shut them down for good.

Owner Rocky Landman and his wife, Gloria, plan to retire.

It all started almost 60 years ago for a man who loved business and boats.

Rocky Landman started his boat business, then known as Landman Sports Center, at 2956 28th St. SE. Twenty years later he changed the name to Landman Sales and moved his business to 2422 Patterson St. on the water along Gun Lake.

This is not all that has changed. By that time he had married Gloria, who was his business partner for life.

“She’s part of the crew,” Landman said.

Together, they watched their business grow as they maintained and sold boats to longtime customers.

“They like the way we take care of them. If they’re looking to buy something, we’ve given them a fair price,” Landman said. “We took care of fixing things for customers as needed. “

Robert Bilski has been a loyal customer over the years. He said he was going to miss the boat store, “but mostly Rocky”, because he was someone you could always count on to fix his boat and not make him pay an arm and a leg.

A photo of Rocky and Gloria Landman submitted by their son.

“A bittersweet stage has arrived,” Bilski said. “He’s a one of a kind businessman. He would do whatever he can to make you happy.”

People came as far as 200 miles to see the boats Rocky had to offer, Bilski said. “They knew they would get a fair deal.”

Although he loved his boat business on the water, in 2000 it was time to move to a smaller operation about half a mile down the same route, Landman said.

“It was a smaller operation because we were ‘practicing’ the retreat,” he said. “I am now 75 years old.”

He said he looked forward to more restful moments as he and Gloria were both getting older.

“There’s a fair bit of physical and mental work going on in the business and I can’t do it like I used to,” Landman said.

Over the years, the Landmans’ four children have helped with the business, but they have all grown up and live out of state.

Bilski said he recently asked Landman, “Where am I going to go now for a rebuilt prop or item in your bargain room?” Landman had items like rod holders, water skis, gas tanks, fishing rods, life jackets and more in his special delivery room. Bilski said it was a place where Landman would say, “Make me an offer.”

“It was so refreshing because the other stores were always trying to get the most out of you, but not Rocky,” Bilski said. “He treated you like a friend and you would always have money in your pocket when you left.”

Landman sold his business in March, but plans to continue living in Gun Lake. Retirement will give the couple a chance to do something they never had much time for.

“We’re hoping to do some boating,” Landman said. “We have a pontoon boat.”

He said he and his wife also hoped to see his four adult children and grandchildren more often.

The Landmans said they could not have had a successful business without the help of all of their former employees, and especially thanked “the dedicated Cal Lamoreaux”.

The Landmans are still wrapping up their business and their last official day will be June 1. However, the new owner of the facility has already moved his business to the Landman Sales building on May 1.

Tom Hopkins is the new owner of the facility and property at 2497 Patterson Road in Shelbyville. He is from the Gun Lake area and plans to name his new building “Toy Box Storage” and said it would be used to store “boats, RVs, cars and that sort of thing.”

He said part of the building is rented for office space and two spaces are already occupied, including an auto mechanic who works on boats.

The new acquisition is an expansion of his existing toy box storage business he has owned for five years on the West M-179 Freeway in Yankee Springs Township, Hopkins said. He also sells paddleboard and kayak docks online and plans to sell them from the Patterson Road facility.

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