Boaters are depending on Aquaholics owner Craig Dillon to keep them on the water this summer. Memorial Day week, Dillon and his team of mechanics had 47 boats to get in shape for the holiday weekend.
“I’m a boater, and I know how people think when it comes to their boats,” Dillon said from his office at his boat repair and professional detailing shop on Georgetown Road.
“I like working on things I enjoy.”
That’s why his shop also handles repairs and detailing for cars, campers, trucks and motorcycles.
Dillon, 29, a native of Stamping Ground, grew up on the lakes of Kentucky, skiing and wakeboarding at Nolin Lake on the weekends.
“Craig taught me how to ski. He’s the waterdog of the family,” says his younger brother, Brent Dillon, who works at Aquaholics. “He likes being out on the water.”
At 15, Craig Dillon started working on boats and learned how to be a mechanic at Hoover’s Repair in Stamping Ground. After high school he earned a degree from the Marine Mechanics Institute in Florida.
He didn’t like being away from home, and the main thing he learned at MMI, he says, is that he already knew what he was doing. But it’s nice to have a formal education and the paper to prove it.
Back in Kentucky, he worked as a truck mechanic full time and started fixing boats on the side from his garage. Boaters also passed his number around, and he would meet them right on the lake.
Brent, 26, said Craig had 20 boats in his yard when he decided to launch Aquaholics. With customers in Cincinnati, Pike County, Frankfort, Georgetown, Stamping Ground among other places, Craig Dillon decided Frankfort was a good central location.
He opened the shop in March 2011 and says the high-traffic road has earned him more customers. Today, his Australian cattle dog, Reba, wanders around the yard packed with boats, cars and trucks he’s restoring or fixing.
“I may have more than I can handle,” he admits.
But that doesn’t keep him from adding on more.
“One weekend, I was trying to go fishing, and I couldn’t find a place to buy bait,” he said. “Gosh, if I can’t find it, probably no one else can.”
So, he’s opening a bait shop this week in the same location. The little wooden shop, just at the edge of Georgetown Road, will have live bait and several items that boaters and fishers need, like beef jerky, ice and life jackets. Eventually, Dillon plans to include kayak rentals.
Brent Dillon says there’s no limit to what his brother can do.
“He’s really enthusiastic about everything he does” Dillon said. “He wants everything to be perfect; he’s always been like that.”
Craig Dillon’s Kawasaki Vulcan custom motorcycle in the shop is a testament to that. He started painting motorcycles as a hobby and found he was good with an airbrush. He did the flame work on his own bike, then for friends. The service is now part of his regular business.
“He loves painting motorcycles,” Brent Dillon says. “He still works on boats, but he likes things that take a lot of detail, anything he can make different to give people something that no one else has.”
Aquaholics Boat Repair and Professional Detailing
Location: 3732 Georgetown Road
Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday