New Milton boat repair shop finding success despite COVID

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

For those who own boats, and that would include many in our coastal community, it’s always good intel to know of another boat repair location.

2 Gauge Marine & Trailer is the new kid on the block. Located at 5855 Stewart Street in Milton, owners Derek Anderson and Jaime Lary are here to keep your boat in top condition.

2 Gauge Marine & Trailer owners Derek Anderson and Jaime Lary pose for a photo in their Milton shop.

Anderson and Lary are good buddies who hail from Kansas. While Kansas isn’t exactly known for its boating opportunities, Lary said that there are plenty of small lakes to hone one’s mechanical capabilities.

“We do a lot of 20 hour services, all engine-related repairs, and custom work like adding lights,” Lary said. “We also repair boat trailers, like replacing axels and repacking bearings, fixing trailer lights, and making custom modifications.

"The only thing we don’t do here is fiberglass repairs, since that’s a whole different ball game,” he added.

The first question many customers have is how the men chose the name for their shop.

“That’s easy,” Lary laughed, “we both have sons named Gauge!” 

How they ended up in Milton from Kansas is another story. Anderson said that he spent several years transporting boats for customers around the U.S., and made several passes through this area. 

2 Gauge Marine & Trailer is a new boat repair business located in Milton.

“Milton is a fabulous place with friendly people, lots of water, and great weather," he said. “I moved my family here, and then talked Jaime into bringing his family here and opening up a business with me.”

Like many who have recently opened businesses, Anderson and Lary were confronted with the COVID shut downs shortly after opening their doors. But boating opportunities in this area never slowed down, so they had no problem staying busy right from the get-go.

“We’ve already added another mechanic because business has been amazing,” Lary said. “At some point our shop won’t be big enough and we’ll need to find a new spot.”

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Anderson added that the two of them love it here and will be staying permanently.

“My wife has established her own cleaning service, and Jaime’s wife is a teacher, so we’re pretty settled in," Anderson said. "Plus, we work with great people here in Milton, and both of us love playing with other people’s boats and making sure that no one gets stranded.”

And that’s just what boat owners want to hear.