8/14/2014

BRIAN MALONE BECOMES LICENSEE FOR NORTH SAILS IN ST PETERSBURG, FL

Veronica Brown

Ethan Bixby to remain a North sales representative after owning sail loft for 22 years

Brian Malone assumes North Sails license in St. Petersburg, FL
North Sails announced today that Brian Malone has assumed the license for North Sails in St Petersburg, FL located at 1320 20th Street North. Formerly owned by world champion sailor Ethan Bixby since 1998, Bixby opted to sell the business to Malone but will remain actively involved as a sales representative indefinitely.

“After 22 years of owning the loft in St. Petersburg, I decided it was a good time to sell my business,” said Bixby. “Brian and his wife Kathleen are very smart and proactive people who are approachable and experienced. I believe this is a win-win for North Sails, our local customers and Brian and Kathleen. They will both be a great addition to North Sails.” North sales representatives Lin Robson and Dave Beatson will remain in place in St. Petersburg and Jacksonville, FL respectively along with sail care expert Lon Ethington who works at the St. Petersburg loft.

Malone, who is very active in the sailing community, worked in the sailmaking industry prior to buying the North Sails license and loft from Bixby. “His experience in both sailmaking and the marine industry made him the perfect candidate to keep this loft open and expanding,” said Bixby. “I plan to work daily with Brian to ensure a smooth transition. Plus, I can’t go too far away because I still need sails for my boats,” joked Bixby, who actively sails in the Windmill, Contender and 505 classes. “But most importantly, I will stay onboard to continue my relationship with many valuable clients in our local market.”

“I’ve been a huge fan and customer of North Sails for more than ten years and have always admired and respected the way Ethan ran his business,” said Malone. “When I found out his loft was for sale, I thought it would be a great fit for me with a really great company.” Malone grew up sailing dinghies in the Bahamas and moved to Florida 16 years ago to get more involved with sailboat racing and marine industry. “There isn’t a lot of competitive sailboat racing in the Bahamas, so I opted to move to Florida to be closer to more racing and business opportunities,” explained Malone. “I have worked in the sailmaking business and have owned a rigging shop in Tampa, FL resulting in some great relationships with local boat owners who have followed me through other brands. I’m excited for the opportunity to introduce them to North Sails,” he said.

Brian and his wife Kathleen Robinson, a professor at Eckerd College, own and race a J/24 together and are active members of the Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa. “Kathleen plans to help with local marketing and we hope to reinstate winter sailing programs at local yacht clubs. Our ultimate goal is to expand North's presence both here in St Pete and down in the Southwest Florida area,” Malone concluded.

Brian Malone can be reached by calling the North Sails loft at 727-898-1123 or email: brian.malone@northsails.com.

North Sails
1320 20th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713 USA