Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. That adage seems to be true as it applies to SandShark Anchor in Plymouth. This family-owned and -operated business was established in 2009 by Duane and Susan Mattix, and features specially designed anchoring systems and anchor accessories for boats.
As Marshall County natives, the Mattixes spent many enjoyable weekends on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, boating or simply enjoying the sandbar and the beach. One favorite pursuit was to anchor their boat at the beach and cross the road to the root beer stand, or at least make the attempt.
“When we would get to the stand, we could see our boat coming unanchored and crashing to the shore,” the Mattixes recount on the business’s website.
To solve this problem, Duane designed an effective anchor for shallow water, beaches and sandbars. The anchoring system allows boaters to enjoy their time on the water without worrying about their anchor coming loose. The anchor drills into the ground using a screw auger.
“Once drilled in, water holds down the sand and creates a suction to prevent the anchor from pulling out,” he says. “It gives tremendous holding power and gives you peace of mind.”
He named the product SandShark because, as he says, “there’s nothing stronger in the water than a shark’s bite. Metal made the shaft strong. We designed our anchors to not break off in the water.”
The Mattixes say there were challenges with starting a business based on the need to find a better way to anchor their boat. Building customer awareness was one issue, and designing innovative products while also keeping the cost down for consumers was another.
With the addition of engineer and jet-ski enthusiast Jeff Steininger to the company in 2016, SandShark Anchor has continued to grow. Steininger became a third partner in 2018. Their product line has expanded, as the company continues to design and refine new and effective marine products.
“We wanted to bring out products that would not only complement the anchors, but be the same high-quality products as the anchors,” Duane says. “We found over time that auger-style anchors work exceptionally well with a bungee line.”
The effective pairing of the SandShark anchor with a bungee line works because the bungee line breaks the wave to put less pressure on your anchor and your boat. The buoy was designed to mark the anchor’s location, so it can be found easily and so boaters can easily spot the anchor’s position.
“Over time we have added other boating accessories to make the time out on the water a great one,” Duane says.
SandShark sells all the necessary anchoring supplies such as dock lines, bungee lines, carabiner clips, buoys, and other accessories not reliant on owning a watercraft, such as dry bags, waterproof phone cases, boat erasers, snorkel masks and emergency air horns.
Last year the Premium Boat Fender was added, and a deepwater anchor has also been developed and is part of the SandShark family of products. It is an all-aluminum, retractable, fluke-style anchor.
“Our priorities are making high-quality products that protect people’s investments, not only of their boat, but of their time,” Susan says. “No one wants their day ruined by worrying about their boat floating away.”
Their customer-service philosophy is simply to provide their customers with a quality product and overall satisfaction.
“We take care of customer service in-house,” Duane says. “SandShark Anchor strives to take the time needed to understand the needs of each unique customer and meet their expectations.”
SandShark products are available online at sandsharkanchor.com, through eBay, Amazon and Walmart, and at select marinas in the Midwest. The owners caution that some of their products are bought and sold independently online. Buying directly from a SandShark store will guarantee quality and warranty, Duane says.
In addition to Duane and Susan, the couple’s sons, Brandon and Derek, also work for the company. Andy Smith and Kathy Koontz are Susan’s cousins, and are also part of the SandShark team.
“We are very blessed to have had consistent growth over the last many years,” Susan says. “We give God the credit for that.”