By dthompson ~ April 5th, 2013. Filed under: Current Issue.
Barry Berhoff, President
The business of cleaning
waxing, polishing refined
by long-time boating enthusiast
By Doug Thompson
Barry Berhoff grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois and spent his childhood boating with his parents, brother and sister on the Great Lakes and later, sportfishing off the coast of South Florida. Recreational boating was always considered a fun, family activity, and he hardly ever associated it with work.
And then the day was over, and it was time to clean the boat. Who likes to clean a boat?
Well, Berhoff didn’t mind. He considered it the next best thing to being on the water; taking care of a really big toy is a lot of fun when you have the time. Many boat owners can identify with the scarcity of time to go boating—if you can’t go boating, you think about boating and how you can make it better.
Berhoff helps make boating better through his company, Shurhold Industries, based in Palm City, Florida, and he bought the company (founded in 1973) from the original owner in 1998. He and a staff of 18 employees manufacture hard goods (brush, mops and squeegees) and soft goods (waxes, polishes and cleaners).
“The other half of what we do is provide information,” says Berhoff (39). “If people cannot find the answer online, then they can fill out a form on our website and ask questions. A lot of time those questions come to me and I will answer right away.”
Southern Boating interviewed Berhoff about his company and how he is helping to both build his business and educate boat owners.
SB: Boat owners know cleaning is important, but what are common misconceptions they have when it comes to marine maintenance and related products?
BB: The biggest misconception is that many boat owners are afraid of detailing beyond a basic wash. Shurhold strives to make every boat owner feel like a professional detailer by providing simple, effective tools and information that make the job easy.
One question I get asked all the time is “Do I need two coats (or more) of wax?” People are shocked by our answer, which is to put on one coat. Some companies say to put on two coats, and what they may be doing is trying to get you to use more product.
We feel the second coat is really not helping your boat, except to make sure you don’t miss any areas. If you take your time and put one good solid coat on, then you can save the second coat for down the road. It is much better to put one coat on now and one three months from now. It’s like reapplying sunblock to your body halfway through the day.
SB: How has Shurhold Industries made it easier for boat owners to keep their boat and equipment from both looking good and lasting longer?
BB: Shurhold has a philosophy of developing multipurpose, easy-to-use products. This way we help cut down on the clutter and anxiety that goes into surface care and protection. Simple, effective products are really just half the story. Shurhold believes we are here to help educate and inform the consumers about the proper ways to protect their prized possessions. Both articles and videos are posted on a regular basis at shurhold.com/tips.
SB: What innovations has Shurhold introduced in the last year, and what new products are you working on?
BB: This year Shurhold added three new round brush heads for our award-winning Dual Action Polisher. These brushes extend the use of the polisher into carpet scrubbing, non-skid waxing and more.
SB: Shurhold offers marine, RV and automotive products. What unique challenges do boat owners face regarding boat maintenance compared with RV and automotive maintenance?
BB: Boat owners have two unique challenges over RV and automotive. First, the marine environment is very hard on tools and is very corrosive, especially in salt-water areas. We had to design and use materials that would stand up for years in this very aggressive environment.
For example, the deck and cleaning brushes we make utilize a metal staple that holds the fiber tuft into the wood block. There may 120 tuft holes in the block and 100 fibers in each tuft hole. Most companies, whether they use a plastic or wood block, use galvanized wire as the staple because it’s cheap. But galvanized wire tends to powder over time in the marine environment and the tufts start popping out. Steel wire will also exude rust from the holes.
We use a material called nickel silver, and it’s the same material they use in the toothbrush industry. Nickel silver is rust-proof and FDA-approved to use in toothbrushes (they use very small amounts). Nickel silver offers such longevity that those staples will last longer than anything else on that brush.
The second unique challenge with the marine industry is that when washing a boat in a marina there is always concern about environmental run off. Therefore products like our Brite Wash have been developed to be earth friendly.
SB: What type of boating do you enjoy and where do you go boating? Do you own a boat?
BB: Boating for me is all about the family. It’s something I did when I was young with my parents and what I want to do with my kids. Their favorite place to be is out on the boat. We travel to The Bahamas, go fishing and spend weekends here in the Stuart area at the local sandbar.