Norton’s Dry Dock: Big Green Lake

Norton’s Dry Dock store
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

A study published in February 2010 by J. Nawijn, “Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday”, suggests that we are happier planning our vacation than we are taking it. In our heads, everything is perfect, and we easily omit the periods between the excitement. When we’re on vacation, unexpected misfortunes, family drama, and worries about leaving the garage door open add stress like picturing grandma when kissing your sweetheart.

Though you’ll need to see a psychiatrist for potential Freudian hang-ups, when it comes to your boating needs, Norton’s Dry Dock has you covered. “We see it every summer,” says owner Chuck Hurley. “Somebody comes up, they drop their boat in, and it won’t fire up. Next thing you know, they’re on the phone with us Saturday morning first thing. We’re trying to get them back on the water so they can enjoy their vacation. … We’re about fast service and getting you turned around. Your vacation time is precious, and we do everything we can to make sure you enjoy it.”

But it’s not just service. Norton’s Dry Dock has everything you need, “boat accessories, bumpers, life jackets, trailer accessories, you name it. … We’re set out in the cozy country on the west end of Green Lake. I think people come in here and are shocked at the showroom and the number of boats we have here.” It’s a one stop shop—particularly for fishing and pontoon boats—run by knowledgeable staff, meaning no buyer’s remorse when it comes to quality. Chuck Hurley takes his commitment to customer satisfaction seriously, oftentimes bending over backwards for those in need.

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

He also has a personal attachment to the plot of land, even though he’s not a Norton (a name synonymous with Green Lake). “My grandfather owned this business and sold it to the Nortons in the mid-70s. I lived in a house right where we’re sitting before they built this showroom. I was born and grew up in the house until I was five years old. Dave and Kristen Norton ran it for about three months short of 40 years, and then I decided to buy it and put it back in the family. That happened about two years ago.” Nostalgically speaking, it’s home, and Chuck treats customers like guests.

For those who do more than vacation here, Norton’s Dry Dock will do the heavy lifting so all you need to do is go to your pier, fire up the boat, and get out on the water. “For those lake residents, we can do everything. We can put their dock in, put their hoist in, put their boat in, service calls throughout the summer if they need it. Then in the fall, we reverse the process—boat out, hoist out, dock out.”

Vacations are meant to be times of leisure. With an amenable business like Norton’s Dry Dock around, enjoying your time on the water is as enjoyable as the time spent planning and thinking about it.

Kyle Jacobson is a writer and senior copy editor for Green Lake Magazine.