Dealers have responded positively to Zim’s business model, which is to deliver a product at a fair price on time. “Steve is a very detail-oriented guy,” says George Yioulos, of West Coast Sailing. “He never gets too excited about things; he’s a very ‘by-the-books’ kind of guy, a straight shooter. The dinghy market needs someone who is reliable. If I call in an order for 10 FJs, he gets it done. If I need twenty 420s in certain colors, they show up.”
Since starting in 2008, Zim has gone from zero boats sold to 490 boats sold by the middle of 2015. Perry says the company’s U.S.-based manufacturing is growing, and at some point the economics of building domestically instead of abroad will swing back to favor the United States. In the past five years, the cost to import a boat from Asia has doubled on a cost-per-boat basis. As long as they keep hustling, Perry reckons, they have all the potential to be the next big thing in small-boat building, and now that they have a dozen full-time employees and have moved into a 24,000-foot facility, they’ve got all the assets they need. For now, at least.