My name is Skip Sheppard. I’m president and owner of Three Lantern Marine. I’ll tell you a little bit about Three Lantern Marine and Fishing.
Three Lantern Marine & Fishing was kind of a dream for me when I kicked it off. I basically was looking for something to supplement my retirement, and boating and fishing has been a hobby of mine for most of my life. What inspired me to start this was I was affiliated with corporate America in the paper industry and print industry for most of my career. Large corporate America was giving me a little bit of a nudge; I was at an age where they wanted me to move on. I dragged my feet for a couple years and kind of looked at it, but I couldn’t quite make that leap and give up that security. It got to the point where I really didn’t have any choice.
I wanted to do any type of business where I could work for myself and be accountable to me. When I had the opportunity to look at a bait and tackle store, it was exciting. It was a labor of love for me.
Our experience with Guidant Financial has been a success story from right out of the gate. When the time came to take my 401(k) money and put it to work, they had all the solutions that we needed. Our relationship from day one with them was nothing but the best. It’s been a success story literally from day one from when we kicked ours doors open. The community rallied around us, supported us, and we’ve managed to grow this business every single year that we’ve been here.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way? I guess fear of being on my own prevented me from diving in at one point, but it’s really believing in yourself and from a business standpoint, if you put the products out there and give the people what they want, that really is what it gets down to: giving the customer what they’re really looking for.
I would recommend Guidant to anybody out there. Anybody who wants to be on their own, if they’ve had fears or reservations, you need to have some conversations with these people. They make it a comfortable experience, and they made it as easy as pie to take my retirement money and invest it in this company.
It’s a really, really good feeling at the end of the day when you put your ideas and your things out in front of the public and it works.