Memories are Made at the Lake
“Cultivating relationships through life on the water”
As I walk down the dock at Concord Marina to meet the owners of the Nautical Boat Club, Scott & Becca Payne and their crew, I can only feel a little envious as I take in the beautiful scenery, they get to enjoy at work every day. They have a cute nautical cottage type office right on the dock overlooking the Tennessee River.
In fact, the Tennessee River is one of the state’s most notable features. Its natural beauty and lush scenery provide many opportunities for fishing, boating, water sports, and other recreational activities. So, it’s no wonder you’d find the Nautical Boat Club at Knoxville’s Concord Marina outfitted with water toys and boats and ready for fun. It’s Knoxville’s premier boating country club. From sports boats to double deckers with slides, and even competition wake boats, this family-owned club provides fun and affordable ways for families to get out on the river to enjoy the water life, making those life-long memories you will cherish for years to come.
The club is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Scott and Becca Payne, a young and successful couple originally from the state of Texas. Not only Texas, from the desert. Surprising, right?
To most, it’s understandable why most people may want to leave the desert, but what really made them pick up their lives and find their way to Knoxville, Tennessee? It is a story about passion and relationships.
Even though Scott grew up in the West Texas heat his family lived only 2 hours from the lake and his parent’s cabin. His dad was super busy running his construction company, with little time for family during the week. When weekends came and it was time to “let go” they headed to the cabin and the lake. These were special times for Scott. In fact, he says lake life was a big part of growing up for him. It was when the family got to spend time with his dad, gave a chance to play with him, relax and just bond as a family. Growing up, so many friendships formed, and strong bonds were made around the lake. In High School Scott met Becca and introduced her to lake life. The High School sweethearts married and soon, life on the water became a shared passion.
Aside from the lake, Scott and Becca remained in the Texas desert and grew two successful businesses. Like his father, Scott owned a home building construction company and dedicated his life to the building industry. Becca, being a student of dance and theatre, had the opportunity to purchase a dance studio that was about to close with only 12 students and in a short time was teaching more than 400 students. That was amazing! Business was thriving for them both, but after starting a family and finding little time for each other, they wanted a change. As Scott says, “It was time to hit the reset button.”
So, what now? And where to? These were big questions for them.
Best friends Chris and Brandy thought they had the answer. They invited Scott and Becca to visit with them here in Knoxville where they were planting a church and experience all that Knoxville had to offer. Secretly hoping they would move here and help with the church too. Scott and Becca took the offer to visit...and...fell in love. The friendly area, proximity to the lakes, mountains, and more, they knew that Knoxville was where they wanted to be.
Upon returning to Texas, they each sold their business and packed up. They came not knowing what was next. They only knew it would not be construction and it would not be a dance studio. They knew they wanted to create a business together, looking for a way to incorporate their love of the water into it and allow them to spend time together as a family.
In his tedious search, Scott started wondering about franchises. But nothing seemed right. Scott remembers saying, “There must be something we can do with our passion for water.” After all, they had always been lake people and boaters. Water was not just their hobby and getaway; it was their passion. They needed to find something in the boating industry.
And then...almost by accident...they found the Nautical Boat Club. It fit perfectly. Funny thing is this parent company originated in Texas, but they had to move to Tennessee to discover it! They bought the franchise and went to work. They opened the club in 2017, and at the same time, opened new ways for families to experience and enjoy the water. Becca says, “It’s neat to get families on the water and out there having fun.” They were building relationships and that is the best part for both Becca and Scott.
She is right about families having fun on the water. The boat club concept has grown in popularity and the Nautical Boat Club at Concord now serves more than 100 members. And they are still growing!
This summer they opened a new club location in Tellico Village. But like most businesses it was not all that easy to open. Scott and Becca had their fair share of obstacles to overcome.
They made a tough decision coming to Knoxville, and the move was hard. For one, Texas was the only home Scott and Becca had ever known. Leaving behind the lake, the cabin, friends, and especially other family must have felt strange. It must have been scary, and maybe even overwhelming.
When they arrived in Knoxville, they realized they suddenly had no history. They had no relationships. Becca says, “Most people don’t realize how valuable relationships are until you don’t have them anymore.” She is right about that too. Thankfully, they had Chris and Brandy to make it a little easier. Even though they had the support of their friends, there was one more obstacle they had to face. And it was a big one - something most people would not even think to consider. The franchise provided just about everything they needed to open and become successful. Systems, software, marketing...those were all in place. But the boats? Scott and Becca had to buy the boats! And that meant they needed a bank. Well...they were new in town...they had no relationships...they had a tough job ahead of them. In the end they got through it, and Scott says the move to Knoxville was so good for his family, and it continues to be good.
Why is it so good?
Becca says it is the outdoors and all there is to do. She is excited about the mountains and the lakes. She notes there are 8 lakes within 50 miles of Knoxville, and that is a lot of water sports. For her, Knoxville is home. It is Paradise. She says, “Living here I always feel like I’m on vacation.”
For Scott it is the same, but he adds that his favorite part of being in Knoxville and owning the club is the members. He gets to go out on the boats and spend time with them. Through training and coaching he gets to help them experience and enjoy life on the water. Whether it’s teaching you to wake board, pull a tube or just learn to drive the boat, the fun and memories his members are creating is what makes it all worth it. Mostly, though, it is the relationships. They are strong and deep. They feel so blessed to raise their two children, Cutler and Charley, here in Knoxville where people are friendly, and the culture is rich.
What is next for these two?
They have got some surprises in the works. Maybe a new line of lake wear...or…we will just have to wait and see. For now, they are working hard to get people on the water, having fun, making new friends and creating lasting memories. Like the slogan says, “Cultivating relationships through life on the water.”