50 years and still a Mercury man
Mercury Marine pays homage to stalwart Geelong dealer
Stephen Kittelty’s 50-year commitment to the marine industry —and Mercury Marine in particular — has been recognised with the industry stalwart being honoured by his colleagues.
Mercury Marine said it recognised Stephen’s amazing contribution to the industry at its recent Victorian Dealer cocktail party.
Kittelty started selling and servicing boats and motors in 1959 at B&M Watersports in Geelong. Now, 50 years later, Mercury Marine says he’s still successfully selling Mercury products as the owner of Independent Outboard Service on the Bellarine Highway.
"It’s amazing to think that a single product has had such a strong influence on my life," Kittelty said.
"The first time I saw a waterskier in 1958 I was mesmerised and I knew from that moment that I wanted to work in the boating industry.
"A year later, in 1959, Mercury outboards came to Geelong and I applied for a service position at B&M Watersports. When I started we had just one boat in stock — a Mercury — and that was the start of a lifetime partnership," said Kittelty.
Mercury Marine said Kittelty’s career in the industry took off when he was approached by Heaths Motors in 1961 to take on the Mercury franchise and run it as a separate division of the business.
"The business had four fibreglass boats and I sold them all within weeks of starting," Kittelty said.
"Back then, skiing was the dominant market so when you sold a boat you had to teach the whole family how to use it and how to waterski. This enabled me to develop close relationships with many of the families in the area.
"The introduction of 100hp engines a short time later greatly increased demand for my services and as my reputation grew, I started selling boats out of Geelong and I found I was away on the river with a different group every weekend," said Kittelty.
In 1969, he constructed a marine service station that sold boats, engines, petrol, a range of associated marine products and also offered full servicing — a first in the area at the time. In the early 1980s he purchased land to build Independent Outboard Service, which he still operates today.
"Mercury has given me so much — the products have helped me grow a strong customer base that has made everything I have today possible," said Kittelty.
"Many people trusted me implicitly to sell them good quality marine products and I was able to do that because of Mercury," he said.
Photo: Geelong dealer Stephen Kittelty
with his special award from Mercury Marine.
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