Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 3:30 am | Fair 63º



Serial Entrepreneur Brian Coryat Sails on Success

With his Seacoast Yachts brokerage riding high on strong sales, the business expands into Oxnard’s Channel Islands Landing Marina

The first time Brian Coryat drove through Santa Barbara, it was one of those days the coastal city doesn’t quite look like itself — rainy, gray and so cloudy that the mountains were invisible.

So when Goleta’s Raytheon offered the Long Island native a job as an electronic technician, Coryat said he wouldn’t move up from Redondo Beach with his wife without a boost in salary.

Months later when Coryat negotiated the increase and drove up in 1991, Santa Barbara was as sunny, warm and welcoming as ever.

“We fell in love with Santa Barbara immediately,” Coryat told Noozhawk recently while sitting in his Harbor Way offices as co-owner of Seacoast Yachts brokerage.

Much has happened since Coryat showed up to the coast broke, sans a college degree and only dreaming of one day owning a boat or a business.

Now the 53-year-old serial entrepreneur has two powerboats — a 57-foot Tollycraft and a 26-foot Anderson — and is a well-known member of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

Realizing he needed more money to be able to buy a house, Coryat founded his first business in 1994, an online directory listing service called AAA Internet Promotions.

AAA evolved into an SEO company, which subsequently produced Value Click, a brand Coryat sold after it went public in 2000.

Six months passed before Coryat became restless and bought Seacoast Yachts, a local company that’s been around for decades.

“I just love business,” he said. “I’ve got great balance in my life. I love what I do.”

The business took a hit during the recession, but Seacoast Yachts sales were so good this year that Coryat recently expanded the business into Oxnard’s Channel Islands Landing Marina.

Boat sales increased 43 percent from last year, with 11 powerboats and 10 sailboats sold in 2014 — the best year since 2006, Coryat said, with prices from $100,000 to $450,000.

Since Channel Islands Harbor is larger than the Santa Barbara Harbor, Coryat said the market seemed a great fit for perpetuating the “boating lifestyle” — one he personally embraces as a way to spend time with family and friends diving for lobster, spear fishing and more.

The Internet marketing pioneer founded Local Market Launch three years ago as a company providing products for businesses to build and grow their online presence. Coryat also dabbles in the commercial real estate and hotel industries.

His entrepreneurial spirit has spread to his 18-year-old son, David, who as a senior at Santa Barbara High plans to study business next fall.

Coryat takes pride in surrounding himself with the right people, and Seacoast Yachts co-owner and broker Vicki Van Hook is one of them.

“That’s what I enjoy most about business,” he said. “Their success is my success.”

Van Hook has taken the lead in that business while Coryat focuses on expanding Local Market Launch to 50-some employees locally and in Europe.

His one condition of expansion: He gets to stay in Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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