Joe & Skipjack the Story of
“Like any business, it starts with an idea.” Joe Elder was in the British Virgin Islands, drinking a rum drink and eating a tropical meal when that idea struck him. He and some friends were on a sailing trip, gallivanting around in a 49-foot Beneteau. “As we moved through the islands, we hit all of the Pussers, as all sailors do!” Unlike most sailors, Joe paid more attention to the business side of things than he did to his rum drinks. He became fascinated with the place. “You could buy the apparel and you could buy the gifts from the store, but the neat décor was not for sale. And that’s really the part I liked so much about it,” Joe says. Joe met Alison, the woman who would soon become his wife and later his business partner. The pair were (are) divers, serious divers, and met at a function hosted by the 50 April 2014 SpinSheet
by Andy Schell
##ARC Caribbean 150 0 part icipants enjoying a happy hour at Skipjack Nau tical before the star t of the rally. Photo by Maria Karlsson
Maritime Archeological and Historical Society (MAHS), a group of professional and serious amateurs who volunteer to work on underwater archeological sites alongside the trained scientists. Joe and Alison have worked on wrecks as close to home as German submarines on the Chesapeake and as far afield as 17th century wrecks in the English channel. Through all of the diving and adventuring, the business idea that Joe formed in the islands remained.
Through Alison’s father they were introduced to Stan Shanks, an importer of salvaged ship parts. Once retired, excommercial and Navy ships are taken to yards overseas where they are dismantled and broken up. Their valuable bits and pieces are saved and sold off to collectors. Stan seeks out these places and brings back the valuable stuff, such as you might find in naval museums. Or at Pussers. Joe realized that several of his passions were intersecting at once. Importing bits spinsheet.com