The first outboard motors sold by Petzold’s were Martin & Champion and Evinrude. As time went on, they built a separate store and shop to accommodate the larger boats they sold. Outboard boats were built up to 25 feet.
Beginning with Tomahawk brand 12-16 feet wood runabouts, they started buying factory-built boats. This is when Agnes left her job as a schoolteacher to run the office.
As the business grew, new boat brands were added to the inventory, including Trojan, Pembroke and Owens.
It became difficult to service and transport them to the water from the highway location. So, in 1959, Bill Sr. decided to buy a seven-acre lot that was formerly the Gildersleeve Shipyard. The land had been vacant since 1930 and no buildings stood there.
In 1966, the company moved to the new location in Portland. A few years later, the company discontinued outboard sales and service.
The new land was graded and prepared for a new travel lift well to be built, along with a 40-by-100-foot storage shed and a small workshop.
Over time, the original shed was expanded, and the showroom and additional storage buildings were built. Two more travel lift wells were added and Petzold’s now have a 15-ton, 35-ton and 55-ton travel lifts capable of hauling boats up to 70 feet.
These travel lifts have made us a destination for winter storage along the CT River. Petzold’s can store up to 300 boats. In addition to winter storage, Petzold’s offers summer slips for enjoying the CT river during the summer.
Petzold’s offers full service with our own mechanical and canvas departments. Petzold’s also has a large Ship’s Store and motor parts department.
Petzold’s is one of New England’s largest boat dealers, representing some of the finest new boats in the industry, including Sabre, Back Cove, EdgeWater, Regal & Sylvan as well as a very active brokerage department.
Upon retirement of William and Agnes, their son Bill Jr., daughter Elaine Cote, and her husband, Richard Cote, ran the yard.
All three have since retired or are semi-retired. Bill Jr’s two sons, Bob as President and Ken as Vice President. The fourth generation is now working alongside Bob and Ken and can be found in the ship store or working around the yard.