Chris Peterson, founder of Hell's Bay Boatworks, which was named one of GrowFL's Companies To Watch for 2016, says he was bred to be an entrepreneur. "I'm a fourth gen entrepreneur," he said. "My father and grandfather were my mentors. They were creating businesses and were great entrepreneurs since the beginning of 1900s throughout the 20th century. They build numerous great companies and there was no question in my mind that I would do anything different. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a businessman like my dad."
Peterson has built a company that boasts a tremendous fan following due to its high quality craftsmanship. "We build, without compromise, the world's finest shallow-water, light-tackle fishing boats," he said. "What makes our product different is the attention to detail and depth of thought that goes into each boat. It's really a thousand little things. People don't understand the cultish following we have even among non-owners."
Peterson and Hell's Bay Boatworks cultivates that following by matching high quality products with a philosophy that resonates with those in the sport. "These boats are used in very environmentally fragile areas," he said. "Our company is highly focused on the shallow water estuary and ocean environments so we not only make a wonderful product but we are also able to voice the overall company philosophy of the sustainable enjoyment and use of these resources."
Peterson's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is that entrepreneurship takes passion and hard work. "Make sure what you chose to do is your passion, and although it is your passion, understand that it will be a lot of work and sweat," he said. "Know that going into it and prepare to work hard."