by CASEY O'CONNOR
Family businesses are historically resistant to change, says Ryco Marine co-owner Mike Rybovich. "The second, third or fourth owner can never run it the same way. That is not to say they run it incorrectly - it's just not the same."
Mike's father, Emil Rybovich, and Mike's uncle, John Rybovich Jr., sold Rybovich and Son Boat Works to Robert Fisher in 1975.
"Dad and Uncle Johnny agreed to stay on and run the business for five years, but after three years, Uncle Johnny began to lose interest and left and began working as a consultant, and wrote for several boating magazines. My dad stayed on for the five years and left in 1980, and I stayed until 1984."
After discussing his future with his dad and with Robert Fisher, Mike decided that it was time to spread his wings and start a family business of his own.
"My dad and I began working on the idea for Ryco Marine. Dad was very much a part of the business until his death two years ago," Michael says. "As luck would have it, shortly after we found a warehouse and my stepbrother, Marty (Evans), came on with us, a customer called us out of the blue, said he heard what we were getting ready to do and wanted the first boat we turned out. His name was Charlie Bouchard. He told us what he wanted, sent us a deposit check and we started building without even meeting him.
"Bouchard fished out of Rhode Island and had come down to Palm Beach for the season," recalls Michael. "He was getting out of a 50-foot Hatteras and wanted something he could run himself."
In October 1984, Ryco Marine, operating out of a little warehouse on 28th Street in West Palm Beach, began work on a 32-foot boat, which was completed and delivered in July 1985.
"We built that boat for $165,000. It was probably the most successful fishing boat my family ever built - if not the most, certainly in second place," Rybovich says. "That boat caught more. sailfish and fished more hours than anything we ever built. She was named Ruthie, and Charlie owned that boat until last summer when he sold it to another one of our customers ~ Larry Wilson of South Carolina. We repowered it and she's right back out there catching fish."
After their success with Ruthie, Ryco built two 33-footers, a 34-, a 24-, a 38-, then a 43-foot boat.
"As customers began to see. what our capabilities were, we started getting inquiries for service work and orders for larger boats," Rybovich says. "When we got an order for a 60-footer, we moved to Garden Road in Riviera Beach, then moved here to Avenue B in the spring of 2001. We're happy to be back on the water."
Today, Ryco Marine, under the guidance of partners Mike Rybovich, Marty Evans and Don Durden, is building fish boats as large as 65 feet.
"The three of us are hands-on management. It's the way we were raised," Rybovich says. "It's what made our family business a success for so many years. My dad and his two brothers were always right in there. Here at Ryco, Marty and I