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Marine Trading Post marks three generations of ownership

July 17, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Since 1985, do-it-yourself boaters have found Marine Trading Post a source for what is needed to repair and maintain their boats without having to spend thousands on a mechanic or, heaven forbid, a new boat.

The Zimmermann family is now going on three generations of providing hard-to-find parts for those who love the water at four locations in Southwest Florida.

But it all started in North Fort Myers in 1985 by a Clarence Kellermann, who lived on his sailboat.

Article Photos

The staff at Marine Trading Post at 1156 N. Tamiami Trail. From left, Allie Hunts, Elvis Lezama, Nicole Kellermann, Renee Watts, Darryl Desirant and Christine Kellerman, in front of their mural outside their building. They also have a location here on Fort Myers Beach at 15600 San Carlos Blvd. #170.


"There wasn't a place where he could buy affordable boat parts in the area, so he started by buying and trading used stuff and it's turned into four stores," said Christine Zimmermann, who co-owns the business with her father, Joseph, who took over in 2003.

After starting on the corner of Pondella and Old 41, it moved to the current location at 1156 N. Tamiami Trail, where the old post office was, in the early 1990s.

Marine Trading Post also has locations in Naples, Fort Myers Beach and Port Charlotte. Zimmermann said expansion was slow and steady, with plans to expand further in the future, to Sarasota.

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Joseph is semi-retired and summers in Michigan. Christine started to take the reins four years ago, which was when they officially bought the building after renting it for years.

Marine Trading Post gets its merchandise through auction buy-outs, which helps keep prices lower and makes boating affordable to all, Christine said.

"We sell anything you need to build or fix your boat. We try not to dabble in electronics or motors, but we have everything else," Zimmermann said. "We are a do-it-yourself kind of place. Like a Home Depot of boating."

They deal in engine and drive parts, electrical, hardware, propellers, pumps and plumbing, steering and controls, trailer parts, accessories and much more.

"We try not to step on other people's toes. We're respectful of other competition that have bene in the area for a long time," Zimmermann said. "We have our little niche. It's hard to find parts which comes from doing auction buyouts from boat manufacturers. It's stuff you can't buy anywhere else."

Many manufacturers went out of business during the market crash in 2008 and Marine Trading Post was able to buy that inventory.

With many unable to buy new boats, they refurbished their old ones, which meant while other companies struggled, Marine Trading Post thrived.

Today, the company remains strong.

"Business has been good. We took a hit last summer with the algae and people weren't out on the water and Irma was tough because people were worried about their homes, but the season so far has been good. We just hope the water stays clean," Zimmermann said.

Marine Trading Post is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, all 997-5777 or go to



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