Spokane Journal of Business

Freedom Boat Club franchisee to open in North Idaho

Five vessels to be readied for members in first year

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Brent Christian has started a Freedom Boat Club franchise in North Idaho with his wife, Michelle. The couple also own Tobler Marina, in Hayden.

Freedom Boat Club of North Idaho will open in Kootenai County for the 2022 boating season, says franchise co-owner Brent Christian.

Christian and his wife, Michelle, also own and operate Tobler Marina, a 15-acre dryland store that offers boat sales and storage at 13400 N. Clovis Road, in Hayden. That location will be home to the boat club’s main offices year-round, but the boats for members will be docked at the River’s Edge Marina, at 415 W. Waterside Drive, on the north bank of the Spokane River in Post Falls, he adds. 

Freedom Boat Club is a membership organization founded in Florida in 1989. Members pay a fee to join the club, and monthly dues provide use of its boats. Members pay for the fuel they use, and there’s no additional usage charges, Christian says.

He says he expects the 2022 boating season will begin around Memorial Day weekend or early June. It typically ends in October. 

During the boating season, Freedom Boat Club will have five new boats moored at River’s Edge Marina, including three 22-foot Bennington pontoons, one 23-foot Chaparral runabout with an open bow, and one Robalo center-console fishing boat.

Freedom Boat Club owns the boats. Christian says his goal is to have 50 memberships, with between eight and 10 members per boat to keep the vessels accessible.

Christian says once the company reaches 25 memberships, then he’ll decide to either add additional boats to the existing fleet, or to open a new club at a different location either on Lake Pend Oreille, or in Hayden.

Initiation fees and monthly dues will be finalized this spring, before the boating season begins. Several factors determine the initiation fee, Christian says, including the length of the club’s boating season as well as the club’s location. At other Freedom Boat Club locations, initiation fees can range from a few thousand dollars to $25,000.

Members also have access to Freedom’s 300 locations in 34 states in the U.S. and in Canada and Europe.

Depending on the pace and number of memberships received, the club could expand to other areas in North Idaho in 2023, Christian says.

“The plan is definitely to develop multiple clubs at different bodies of water,” he adds.

Freedom Boat Club’s national headquarters is in Venice, Florida. The club operates as a division of Brunswick Corp., headquartered in Mettawa, Illinois.

Erica Bullock
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Reporter Erica Bullock has worked at the Journal since 2019 and covers real estate and construction. She is a craft beer enthusiast, who loves to garden and go camping with friends.

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