Pull Watersports grows into full-service boat dealership
Hoping to take friends skiing on Lake Lanier over a holiday weekend nearly a dozen years ago, Jenny Serwitz was more than disappointed when their broken ski tow rope put a damper on plans. This year, the company is celebrating 10 years of serving Lake Lanier.
“We looked everywhere to find a quality ski rope that we could just go out and buy at the last minute, but there were none to be had,” said Serwitz, now owner of Pull Watersports in Cumming. “We couldn’t believe with the number of people around the lake that no retail stores stocked them. It got us thinking.”
It would be another two years before she opened the business. Even the name, Pull Watersports, has a great back-story; again it involved having fun on the lake.
“We were in a cove and as one of our friends signaled the boat driver to start his ride, he yelled, “Pull!” All of a sudden it just made sense to use pull in our name, because it was an active verb and painted a picture of doing something,” she said. “So, we named the business Pull Watersports.”
Serwitz and her husband Perry were living on the lake at the time, the parents of three small children. Perry worked for Fox Sports and two weeks before she was set to open her store in a strip plaza, he was promoted to Fox’s New York office in digital media.
“He was traveling all the time and I was mom to three kids with school, extracurricular activities and a home to maintain. He fully supported me as much as he could and he also encouraged me, so I just moved forward. And he often tells people, ‘Jen did this and I’m so proud of her.’ ”
She’d pick up the kids after school and take them to the store, which sold watersport accessories, skis, life jackets and such as a pro shop. “The kids would do their homework in the back while I waited on customers and as they got older, they’d help out.”
When she had to pick them up after school, she’d post a sign on the door where she was and when she would be back.
“The store quickly became a family place, not just because of our own family but because our customers got to know us and came here often,” she says. “And we just kept growing.”
Soon she and Perry looked for a new boat and discovered TIGE. There was not a TIGE dealer in the area in 2013 – and wakesurfing was starting to take off on Lanier – Perry and Jenny saw an opportunity to expand the business model.
“Unbeknownst to me, Perry stopped by the TIGE manufacturer while he was on a business trip to Texas and when he got back, within two weeks we had signed to be the TIGE dealer. We had three boats lined up along the road and behind the fence.”
She soon realized that she needed a separate location, not only to sell boats, but also to provide service. When a building on Bethel Road became available, she leased it in 2014 to service both boats they sold and customers they served. Three years later in 2018, a former Fountain boats dealership at 5185 Browns Bridge became available.
“It made perfect sense to move the dealership and service to this building, which gave us 15,000 square feet of space, including a 5,000-square-foot showroom and a 10,000-square-foot service area, the largest on Lake Lanier.”
She has kept the pro shop in the original location at 3040 Keith Bridge Road; sales and service are not far away.
Currently, Pull Watersports represents these manufacturers: Godfrey Pontoons, Yamaha Outboard engines, MB sport boats and Indmar engines.
Two years ago, Perry left the corporate world to join Jenny and work full time in the business. “We did a lot of praying and knew this was the right time for him to leave the corporate job,” she said. “It was meant to be.”
Serwitz has become immersed the boating and water recreation business at Lanier. In June 2020, she was elected the first female president of the Marine Trade Association of Atlanta, which presents the Atlanta Boat Show.
“Even though I’m the first female president, other women in the MTAMA have been influential in the organization,” she says. “We’re working to further promote boating and recreation on Lake Lanier as well as to grow our membership among the marine trade. And with so many new boaters on the lake, we’re also supporting boating education and safe boating for fun.”
When asked what drew her to watersports and boating in the first place, Serwitz doesn’t hesitate.
“You never forget that feeling after boating all day, your body is sore, a little sunburned, and you can still smell the lake on your skin; you are exhausted but happy. That’s what we want everyone to experience at Lake Lanier. Boating makes memories that last a lifetime.”
Pull Watersports Boat Sales and Service is located at 5185 Browns Bridge Rd., Cumming; the retail Pro Shop is at 3040 Keith Bridge Road, Cumming.
For more information: 770 881-7808, PullWaterSports.com.