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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Market on the Web

Birds of a feather flock together and for lovers of fowl or the ruggedly beautiful Maine coast, the journey aboard the Hardy Boat begins on the Internet.

Key Question:


Hardy Boat uses the web effectively combined with highly focused direct mail.

Q: Why is the web working for Stacie and Al?

A: They want a very specific audience.

For a small business to compete with and would be very difficult. However, if you want to simply find and advertise to every birdwatcher who wants to see with their own eyes the Atlantic Puffins, now you have a target you can handle! Stacie said, "There are people that have to see birds. They have a life list, and they list all the different species of birds that they've seen, and so I do mailings to birding groups that might want to come out and see Atlantic puffins. This is the only place you can see Atlantic puffins in the United States."

Can you imagine creating a database of "Puffin Lovers"? Certainly it is a subset within the Audubon Society and other birding organizations. But what a wonderful challenge. Parsing lists is a new art form. Speaking of art, among the many summer residents of Monhegan Island, a destination of the Hardy Boat, have been the likes of famous artists. Wouldn't it possible to create a mailing list of the people who love to go to Monhegan and love the work of these historic summer residents of Monhegan?

Within fifteen minutes and using a web search engine and many different combinations of words, we found literally thousands of references. Art classes and workshops, and owners of "Monhegan" art by Jamie Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, George Bellows, Zero Mostel, and slightly lesser known like Ida Proper, Robert Henri, Edward Willis Redfield, Randall Davey, Leon Kroll, Josephine Hopper, John McPherson, Emil Holzhauer, Abraham Bogdanove, Aaron Draper Shattuck, Samuel Peter Rolt Triscott, William Chadwick, Wilson Irvine, Ernest Albert, Chauncey Ryder, William Robinson, Jay Connaway, Rudolf Scheffler, Charles Ebert, Mary Roberts, Constance Cochrane, Isabel Branson Cartwright, Mary Taylor Winter, Joe deMartini, Nick Luisi, Moe Shulman, Jean Liberté (we have one of his paintings!), Mike Loew, William Hekking, Caleb Stone, Dyan Berk, Susan Gilbert, Elena Jahn, Frances Kornbluth, Daphne Pulsifer, Valerie Borgal and so on and on. Each person listed brought us to references with web sites with physical addresses and email addresses.

Al and Stacie have a great little web site. The lesson here for all small business owners is: bring the content development of your web site under your own roof and make it as easy to update as it is to send an email.

Q: How many customers and what gross sales revenue per year do you need to sustain your business? have a "good year"?

A: Learn your ratios, learn how to develop relations with people you enjoy and love to have around you. At some point in time, your business will be valuable, you will have a sustained coterie of customers who are like friends and family, and when you want to go on to other things, these people will help you value your business, possibly even buy into it or buy it. Parsing your lists means becoming increasingly focused.

Think about it

What value do you create for customers and employees? Have you every asked your customers or employees why they are in a relationship with you? If so, what did they say? If not, why not?

Clip from: Marketing From A Distance - Maine to the world

One of eleven business owners in this episode

The Coast of Maine: Meet people who see the world as their marketplace. They see beyond the horizon; they know no boundaries and no borders; the world's people are their family.

In this episode of the show we meet eleven business owners who would rather live in Maine than anywhere else in the world. They are seasoned travelers who, after touring the world, decided to stay in Maine and make it their home and build their legacy.

Every person in this episode is committed to their community. They are active in their local Chamber and they are driven to make their community and our world a better place.  
And, we could go to every village, city and town in the world and find people like the people you meet here.  
These are the quiet heroes. Many are new pioneers. They charter new waters and break new grounds. They all create unique products and services and sell them around the world. They are volunteers, the value creators, the movers, the shakers, the doers, and the lovers of life. We can learn a lot from these hardworking, decent folks.

Hardy Boat

Stacie and Al Crocetti, Owners

Route 32 at Shaw's Fish & Lobster Wharf
PO Box 326
New Harbor, ME 04554

Visit our web site:

Office: 2076772026

Business Classification:
Travel - transportation

Year Founded:

Market on the Web

HATTIE: (In the Studio) What are we learning? If you've got what people want, they will find you and go out of their way to give you their money. They don't have to know you personally or live around the corner from you. However, you can't market from a distance unless your product is top quality and unique. When your product arrives on the doorstep of a new customer, it must stand there, all alone. You aren't there to apologize if something is just not right.

For these business owners you're meeting, quality is an obsession. Some like to argue that the Maine work ethic and a traditional commitment to craftsmanship are the underpinning of the success we see here. I agree. But I see another common thread that binds these owners. It is a devotion to what they do. They are in love with what they do. This is their expertise, their gift, and no matter what happens, they are constantly working to perfect it even further. Don't think about marketing from a distance unless you have a unique product, unless you are willing to devote yourself completely to quality.

(Voiceover) Travelers from all over the world enjoy the 10-mile cruise to Monhegan Island on the Hardy Boat.

STACIE CROCETTI (Hardy Boat): (Voiceover) It's always been an outdoor state. I think people think of Maine and they think of the great outdoors and to experience the great outdoors and the wholesomeness of this state.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The boat departs from New Harbor typically twice a day, but for current schedules, see To me, the scenery is both breathtaking and calming. For the young and the old, the trip created a perfect memory for me.

Unidentified Woman #3: Thank you. Great trip.

Unidentified Man #1: Thank you. Bye-bye.

STACIE: (Voiceover) We really brought it up from nothing.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Stacie and Al Crocetti own the Hardy Boat.

STACIE: Basically, all we did was really buy a boat. We didn't buy customers. We didn't have one reservation on the day we bought the business, so we really have had to build it.

HATTIE: Why did you buy a failing business? What's wrong with you? Like, what, are you stupid?

AL CROCETTI (Hardy Boat): Absolutely. Absolutely.

STACIE: Probably in hindsight, I don't know. I don't know. I don't think we were stupid. I think we just didn't know any better.

AL: We didn't have much to lose at that point, you know. It was--yeah. Yeah.

HATTIE: You were thinking, `We can do this or we can go get a job.'

AL: Yeah. Why not take a chance, you know?

STACIE: We figured, worse came to worse, we're in the hole $40,000 and, well, you know, we could probably pay that off working at McDonald's.

AL: At some point, yeah.

Unidentified Woman #4: See you.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) I asked Stacie how she gets the word out.

STACIE: (Voiceover) As far as print material and advertising, we have our brochures that we mail out. HATTIE: How do you get that mailing list? Who do you mail to?

STACIE: Well, it's sort of a selective bunch of people that I mail to, birding groups. We have really tapped into our birders.

(Voiceover) There are people that have to see birds. They have a life list, and they list all the different species of birds that they've seen, and so I do mailings to birding groups that might want to come out and see Atlantic puffins. This is the only place you can see Atlantic puffins in the United States. And I think word of mouth is something. I don't know if you call it advertising, but that's what we really strive for. We want people to get on our boat or have an experience on the Hardy Boat, whether it just be with the owners or whatever, that when someone says, `What should I do?,' their first thought is Hardy Boat. `They're so nice' or `They do a great job' or whatever, and we try to build that in the community so that when they're talking to tourists, they say, `Gee, you should really go for a ride on the Hardy Boat.'

Unidentified Man #2: Watch your step. Welcome aboard.

Unidentified Man #3: Hi.

STACIE: (Voiceover) I would say our #1 advertising, the one thing that we would not do without, is our Web site. You don't come to my business to see the Hardy Boat. You come to my business because you want to see a puffin or you want to see Monhegan, and so the best thing I can do for my business is put out the word about puffins and Monhegan Island and New Harbor and how beautiful the Pemaquid Peninsula is, and people then say, `Jeez, you know, I'm going to go to Maine, and I want to go to the Pemaquid Peninsula or I want to go see a puffin on Monhegan.' And they type in the keywords into Yahoo! or whatever and up pops `the Hardy Boat,' and I'd have to say we've had that site for six years, and, of course, the Web is just growing and growing and more Web sites are getting out there, more links are being--that Web, that Net is just expanding, and it tremendously helps my business because somebody might be at the Bradley Inn because they want to stay at the Bradley Inn and then they list things to do in the area, and there's the Hardy Boat.

(Voiceover) And I can track actually where people are coming from, not just in the United States but throughout the world. You know, you type in `Atlantic puffin,' you're going to see the Hardy Boat.

HATTIE: Of course.

STACIE: And so I just can't believe --who would have thought 20 years ago -- something called the Internet would be this huge big deal? But it is, and it's the one thing I would not do without.

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