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Diversified Marine and Equipment Sales
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer 

Jim and Bonnie Johnston are the owners of Diversified Marine and Equipment Sales, located at 2530 Highway 101 in Florence, and the word “diversified” in their business name is a meaningful one. The Johnstons don’t limit their sales to just marine equipment, but are also a marine repair, service, sales and consignment center, with a “few” other things to offer like Pacific metal buildings, quality woodcraft sheds, RV, trailer and vehicle sales and consignments, complete detail service on RVs, cars, trucks and boats...the list seems to go on and on!

Jim is a veteran who has owned and operated his business with his wife Bonnie since 1989. And other than the part-time employee who does yard maintenance, the couple runs the business by themselves. “I do sales, advertising, you name it,” says Jim. “We’re a small family/veteran operation here.”

Diversified Marine Equipment Sales in Florence is your one-stop destination for everything from boats and trailers to used autos and RVs.
I asked Jim how he and Bonnie wound up in Florence. “I was in the car business for many years,” says Jim. “I worked for the Kendall Ford Company in Eugene in the 1960’s and also for various car dealers in management over the years. I was actually the general manager for Lounsbury Ford in Coquille way back when, and even worked many years ago for Vollstedt Volkswagon in Coos Bay!”

In 1985 Jim was leasing his own inventory when he got into open and enclosed trailer sales (utility and cargo). He and Bonnie had owned a second home in Florence since 1983, and in 1992 they moved there permanently.  “Florence is a nice town to live in:  we’ve got good shopping here and as you drive through town you can see how clean and well-kept it is. The climate is great, we’re only an hour from Eugene, and we think it’s a good centrally-located place on the Oregon coast to live in and do business,” said Jim.

As the company name implies, Diversified Marine and Equipment Sales does full service boat and marine repair on new and used boats. They also sell used boats and motors. “I actually had a company with the same name in Eugene since 1989 that we sold in 2006, so when we moved here, I just kept the name and here we are still operating,” said Jim.

When the Johnstons first moved to Florence, they opened up a trailer sales operation, but that quickly expanded into trailer consignments and rentals, boat, motor and trailer repair service, plus used boat, RV, vehicle and equipment sales. They eventually branched out into selling Pacific metal steel buildings and quality woodcraft sheds, and doing sales, rentals and consignments of dump trucks, backhoes, bucket trucks and other heavy equipment. “I have a satellite operation at Bayshore Automotive in Coos Bay where they sell trailers for me, too,” said Jim. “I think that other for one person in Newport, I’m pretty much the only trailer sales operation of any size on the Oregon coast.”

Jim wanted Shopper readers to know they do their own in-house financing, with special financing for veterans. They also take trade-ins and will buy used vehicles. Their trailer rentals are for open or enclosed trailers from 18 to 24 feet, which will move “pretty much an entire household, if you need to,” says Jim.

The Johnstons are also very involved with the community of Florence. “We loan our trailers to needy organizations like the Boys and Girls Club or Habitat for Humanity,” said Jim. “We try to be a good neighbor in the business community and give back what the community has given us.  We love living in Florence!”

Diversified Marine and Equipment Sales is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, and in the summer they expand their hours to Saturdays from 9 to 5.

I asked Jim what the future holds for his company, and he replied, “we’ve gone through some very tough times since 2008...those were the toughest years since I’ve been in business. We’ve seen a lot of operations close, but our doors are still open...that tells us we have the ability to survive. We see the economy really turning around and business has improved dramatically. Right now we’re selling trailers and boats from Washington to California, so we have a really good outlook for the future!”

If you’re looking for a store that has marine repair, service, sales, consignments and much, much more, call Diversified Marine and Equipment Sales at 541-997-4505 and find out how you can get a “whale of a deal”!

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