Early in the 20th century, Alvah Goldsmith Sr. lived on a farm in Peconic and worked at a car dealership to support his family.

He had an affinity for engines and, while he didn’t know it in 1923, that affinity would take him and his family far. That year, Mr. Goldsmith began selling Evinrude outboard motors from the front porch of the farmhouse.

In 2023, a century after he sold his first outboard, Goldsmith’s Boat Shop, on Main Road in Southold, celebrated its 100th year in business. 

It’s safe to say Alvah Goldsmith Sr.’s love for outboard motors was a key to that success. The business he started lasted through the Great Depression, World War II and a century of economic ups and down and is today recognized as the oldest continuously operated marine dealership in the country.

Goldsmith’s succeeded through hard work, generation after generation, and because of what members of the family sum up in one word: perseverance.

“And having a very strong family connection,” added the founder’s grandson, Glenn Goldsmith, who now co-owns the business with his brother, Craig. 

The story of the Goldsmith business showcases a family’s hard work, but also reveals how Alvah Goldsmith Sr. — growing up on a narrow peninsula surrounded by pristine saltwater — could look into the future and see what lay ahead.

The growth of both recreational boating and the boat-building business on the North Fork worked in the family’s favor. Alvah Goldsmith Sr.’s side business selling Evinrude outboards was strong enough that, by 1930, he bought property at Founders Landing in Southold and set up a marina and boat-building business there.

In an interview, Alvah Goldsmith Sr.’s son, Alvah Jr., said, “My father went from the porch in Peconic, to a new business at Founders Landing. The family moved to houses there. We were the first to have a boat business on that location.”

The outbreak of World War II brought the family additional business, which also helped Greenport Village become a center of the region’s boat-building industry.

“They built 150 ships for the Navy at Founders Landing,” Glenn Goldsmith said. “These boats held torpedoes that could be transported out on the water to waiting seaplanes.

“We had about 40 to 60 employees then, working seven days a week,” he continued. “The first order was for 10 boats. They were all built there, tested in the bay, and then delivered to the Navy on trains from Southold.”

Change came with the end of the war, and the end of wartime contracts with the U.S. Navy. Just as his father had seen a future in outboard motors, Alvah Goldsmith Jr. looked into his crystal ball and saw a different future for the family business. 

To that end, he bought land on Mill Creek in 1947 that had once been the site of a brick yard. A reminder of that past can be seen in the tall chimney that remains on the site.

At Mill Creek, an entirely new business was started: recreational boating. After patriarch Alvah Sr. died in 1980, Alvah Jr. took over. Today, his sons, Glenn and Craig, run the business.

Today, the Goldsmiths’ entrepreneurial spirit is very much on display at Mill Creek, where the office is filled with remarkable early photographs from the family’s marine business. A warehouse there is a veritable outboard motor museum, with many old models — some dating back to Alvah Golsmith Sr.’s day. 

For their century of dedication to their business, and their continuing love and protection of the saltwater world around them, The Suffolk Times names the Goldsmith family its 2023 Business People of the Year.

Previous Winners

2022: Fred Schultz
2021: Paul Romanelli
2020: Southold Pharmacy
2019: Marc LaMaina
2018: Chris Manfredi
2017: George Giannaris
2016: Lucy Senesac
2015: Wendy Zuhoski
2014: Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
2013: Charlie Manwaring
2012: Jill Schroeder
2011: Shelley Scoggin
2010: Peconic Landing
2009: Rocky DiVello
2008: John Romanelli
2007: North Fork Press/Academy Printing
2006: Soundview Restaurant and Inn
2005: Joe Frohnhiefer
2004: Dan Damianos
2003: The Arcade
2002: Kate McDowell
2001: Mattituck Chamber of Commerce
2000: The Harbes Family
1999: Sue Rempe
1998: Bob Scott
1997: Jackie Copas
1996: Richard Mullen
1995: The Claudios
1994: Jeff Strong
1993: The Hargraves
1992: The Rowsoms
1991: Mark Middleton
1990: John Wickham
1989: Ray Terry
1988: Dave LeFreniere
1987: Linda Livni

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