Traverse City Record-Eagle

the BIZ

July 1, 2014

Lessons in business, and life: Sons carry on father's dream

TRAVERSE CITY — Steve Fancy left his sons with a couple of important lessons about the family business before he died of cancer in 2012.

The first lesson was entrepreneurship is the best pathway to business success.

“He used to think of me as a (future) corporate guy and toward those last two years, he was telling us you are going to do it by being an entrepreneur,” son Patrick Fancy, 26, said. “ That’s where you are going to become successful.”

The second lesson was to make sure morals are at the center of day-to-day operations. If you do that, he told his sons, the likelihood of success in their personal watercraft business was much greater.

“If someone would be selling a Jet Ski to him for $300 and he thought it was worth $350, he’d pay them the $350,” son Jeff Fancy, 28, said.

Those life lessons served the Fancy brothers well in the aftermath of their father’s death. The young entrepreneurs turned their father’s novel business idea of dismantling and selling used personal watercraft parts on eBay into a lucrative business endeavor called Fancy PWC Watercraft Rentals in northern Michigan. The pair expect to do between $400,000 to $450,000 in sales from used watercraft parts this year alone.

The men buy used or dead jet skis, salvage their parts at a local shop, test them to make sure they are in good working order, then sell them on the Internet. The business started when their father was trying to fix the family’s used personal watercraft and was amazed at what the new parts cost for the repair at a local store.

“He needed a part for it and he went to buy a part and the price was several hundred dollars and it was just a little plastic piece,” Patrick Fancy said.

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