March 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

It’s smooth selling at new location

Juli Bergstrom-Wasson
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Gary Morris, left, and Dan Conrath have moved Spokane Valley Marine to 7915 E. Sprague Ave., the old Skipper Bill’s location. They say business has been good and they had a successful boat show.
(Full-size photo)

A longtime Spokane Valley fishing boat retailer and service center changed locations earlier this year for greater visibility and growth opportunity.

Spokane Valley Marine moved from its previous home of 30 years on Montgomery Drive to the former Skipper Bill’s site along East Sprague Avenue just west of Argonne Road after owners purchased the property.

The new location provides ample indoor showroom and retail space as well as an outdoor lot. The facility also has four work bays where specialty mechanics and staff provide service and equipment installation and other custom rigging.

“We think this location will allow us to be able to provide more service to the customer – we’ll be able to be more of a full-service marina than we ever were before,” says co-owner Gary Morris, who joined the business in 2010 with Dan Conrath.

“We have more working space and better visibility. We were more of a destination at the previous location,” Morris added. 

Conrath, who took over the company in 2008, grew up with the business and watched as his parents Floyd and Louise Conrath established the company to become a destination for bass and walleye fishermen across the Inland Northwest and nearby states. Conrath says quality products and service have helped keep the business viable.

Spokane Valley Marine offers a variety of fishing vessels, pontoon boats, motors and other boat supplies. Now, with the new locale, owners also are carrying boats built for fishing as well as other family recreational activity.

The company is one of two dealers in the state that sells the Ranger brand of boats. The retailer now carries Ranger’s Fish-N-Play boats, which are built for the variety of water sports.

“A family that goes camping can go out in the morning for fishing and later in the day go wake boarding behind the same boat,” says Morris. These boats – ranging in price from about $24,000 to $60,000 – have the fishing boat amenities such as rod storage and depth finders, and the interior comfort for families.

“We’ve been mainly a fishing boat store and that’s been keeping the business steady,” Conrath says. “As people recognize what Ranger offers, it creates a new market and opportunity for us.”

Are you opening a new business in the Greater Spokane Valley? Is your business expanding, moving or remodeling? Are you wondering about that new store that has opened in your neighborhood? Send an e-mail to Voices editor Jeff Jordan at or Juli Bergstrom-Wasson at

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