Marker Nine


  • 'Tis the season to stock up on Marker Nine gear for those water lovers in your life! 

    Join Marker Nine for a Pop Up Shop at the Consociate Media offices on Saturday, December 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

    Consociate Media is located in the Tidemill Shops (2072 George Washington Memorial Highway) at Gloucester Point, Virginia next to the Little England Mercantile and Sara Harris Photography studio. 

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  • Life Lessons from the Water

    By Ford Silberhorn

    Dad and Son on Boat

    There is something truly special about water. The way that it works, both as a force and as a necessity in our lives cannot be mistaken.

    From a physical standpoint, water can be immensely powerful. Enormous ocean swells can devastate shorelines and floods can ravage towns and cities.

    Without water, mankind could not survive. Water is a necessity for us, but we feel contempt towards it? Of course not. We are completely fascinated and entertained by it, so, naturally, it has a huge impact on the way we live and grow up.

    The point which I am trying to make is that water has the power to influence and change our lives more drastically and powerfully than any other natural occurrence or force and without growing up so close to it, I could not be who I am today.

    There really are two lessons in particular that I can always come to in any situation or environment and these, of course, are to go with the flow and to just relax.

    Even from an incredibly young age, life on the water had begun to teach me things, even if I wouldn't realize these lessons until much later. Buried under a slew of other photos in a box, there is a picture of me as a baby, comfortably nestled in my dad's boat. Not in the cabin or in a chair, of course, rather, in the fish box.

    Baby in a Fish Box on Boat

    Firstly, let me say that there was nothing unsafe or negligent about my sleeping box so you can stop dialing social services.

    When the time came that I eventually saw this photo, I'm sure that I just laughed and thought it was funny how small the box was, however, it was only until later that I realized that I had already been taught a lesson, even as an infant.

    Go with the flow.

    Yeah sure, you're in a tiny fish box, but things could be worse. In fact, I was dead asleep in the photograph so I have a pretty good feeling it was comfy. Could I have screamed and cried for my mother? Probably, but instead baby-me was all good, wrapped tight in a blanket, fast asleep. So, even then, the water had let me let me know that it's much better to go with the flow than to worry about what comes next in life.

    I only learned the last and arguably most important lesson recently.

    This past summer leading into my junior year of high school, I was assigned a small mountain of summer work. As my summer days dwindled, it began time to start on these assignments. It also just so happened that my dad had been planning on a weekend boat/beach day on our favorite spot along the York River. And so there I sat on a beautiful sunny day, book in hand, furiously scribbling notes in the margins of Of Mice and Men instead of swimming, relaxing, or really doing anything fun. It was then that my lesson was clear.


    Reading on the Beach with Boat in Background

    This may seem obvious, however, at the time, all I could think about was working. After maybe an hour of intense focus and reading, I finally understood that it is a million times better to simply relax and enjoy what's in front of you instead of sweating everything you have going on. Maybe it's cliche, but I don't care because it is something that I keep in mind everyday.

    Growing up in Gloucester, Virginia, has undoubtedly had an immense effect on how I go about my life.

    Baby Walking on a Boat

    Living so close to this amazing body of water we know as the York River has taught me so many important things about myself, others, and life in general.

    When the time comes that I leave Gloucester, for school or otherwise, the lessons will stick even if every single memory and event doesn't.

    In ten, twenty, or even fifty years, when I look back on my adolescence here, it will be with total satisfaction in knowing that if I hadn't been here, then I couldn't be the same.

    And that is why water is so special.

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  • Meet us at the MERC... the Little England Mercantile, that is! 

    Marker Nine is returning to the Little England Mercantile for a summer pop up shop on Saturday, July 28 from 10 am to 2 pm! 

    Stock up on classic designs before the summer is over! Hoodies are on sale!

    The Little England Mercantile is located in our hometown of Gloucester, Virginia at 2066 George Washington Memorial Highway, Gloucester Point, Virginia, 23062. 

    We're looking forward to seeing you all! 

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  • Make Your Mark Marker Nine ladies flowy t shirt on pier with flips flops.

    Here's a little known Marker Nine fact for you! When Marker Nine first launched, the lovely ladies - Vicki Bristow and Deanne Bristow-David - were the first to feature the line in their store, Blink in Merchants Square- Williamsburg, VA!

    Now, we are pleased to invite you all to our first ever Pop Up Shop at Blink!

    Please join us Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Blink!

    Blink is located at 413 W Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg. 

    If you make a purchase at Blink and show us your receipt while you are there, we will give you 25% off your Marker Nine order, too!

    Building up small, family businesses means coming together to support and promote each other! We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to do just that with our friends at Blink!

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  • Driving across the big bridge rolling onto the Outer Banks islands of North Carolina. Smelling the salty sea air while crawling through Sarah Creek along the Chesapeake Bay. Watching a young lad smile and listening to him squeal as he jumps off the top of a boat (which had to be at least 15 feet up) and into the crystal clear turquoise waters of Grace Bay off of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    Yep. Those are the moments when Rudy Heinatz, Marker Nine Founder, feels the most right in the world.

    Not just because he’s surrounded by water. But because in all of those moments he’s surrounded by family – wife, Stephanie, and son Will.

    And it was for them he dreamed up Marker Nine.

    Born in Newport News, VA and raised primarily in Gloucester, VA, Rudy has always loved the beach, the water, any time spent at home and his family.

    And it all started early, with annual trips to the OBX with family and friends.

    Rudy graduated from Gloucester High School and then earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Christopher Newport University in Newport News and his Graduate Degree (MBA) from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

    After working as an executive with a healthcare system, in retail with a national chain, Rudy dove straight into the world of entrepreneurship with his wife, Stephanie, who had founded a growing public relations and marketing firm, Consociate Media.

    All the while, Rudy had been dreaming about starting something of his own, something that celebrated all the things he loved in life and that drew on his background leading large operational teams and retail.

    Now to the good part. Marker Nine.

    You could say Rudy is a pretty casual guy. While the man can don a suit and rock it like no one else, on any given day, he’d much rather be in a t-shirt, jeans and flip flops. So when the idea of Marker Nine came to him, he knew it had to be a casual apparel company centered around a laid back, casual lifestyle that would apply to people from coast to coast and everything in between.

    If you’re not familiar with Gloucester, it’s a small coastal community surrounded by 500 miles of beautiful shoreline, lots of inspiration and not to mention the abundance of delicious seafood.

    Why the name Marker Nine?

    “We generally always go in and out of Sarah Creek which leads into the York River off the Chesapeake Bay,” said Rudy “The last marker in the channel before you go out is marker number nine. So it’s the last thing we see as we start down the water and the first thing we see as we come back home. It’s a local symbol to help tell our story.”

    When developing new ideas for designs, Rudy said he and his two partners, Mike Silberhorn and Michele Harrison, focused on their families and what they would like to wear. They also worked together in the early days to fine tune the name, the brand and the goal of what they set out to do.

    “It’s a great brand truly created by all of us,” Rudy said.

    Rudy’s favorite design is part of the early fall collection and features a girl and her board waiting for the right wave.

    “Of all the stuff we’ve done it does the best job of evoking what we are trying to capture,” Rudy said.

    Marker Nine isn’t just an apparel company. It’s a way of life.

    “I believe in what we are doing,” said Rudy. “I’d love to be able to continue to build our business here in our hometown, keep it here and be successful with it here and I think we are well on our way with the relationships we’ve built and the support of our many friends and family.”

    Photos by Sara Harris Photography.

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  • If you ask Mike Silberhorn (ahem…that’s Dick McKee to those of you who know him best), he’ll tell you straight: the perfect day starts with easing through Sarah’s Creek on his boat with his feet kicked up, Natty Light in hand (wrapped in a Marker Nine coozie, of course) and wife and three kiddos by his side.

    And that’s exactly what Marker Nine is all about…family, laid back, coastal living.

    Although born in Radford, VA, Mike was raised in Gloucester, VA, birthplace of Marker Nine the company and the Channel Marker Nine that inspired it all.

    His Dad – Dr. Gene Silberhorn – was a renowned Marine Botanist at William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. All that time around the salt water exposed Mike to the water at an early age.

    His first boat was a skiff…that he got when he was 6. 

    After graduating from Gloucester High School, he went on to pursue a degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University, a small school in Hickory, NC.

    Mike loves the mountains today, but even as a teenager, he had salt water in his veins and returned back to Hampton Roads to finish his degree in Business Management at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.

    After college, Mike launched a painting company, which he ran for 15 years, helped a friend open a bait and tackle store and eventually began working in the floor installation business, which is his full time job today.

    When we say Marker Nine feels deeply about family it’s because it was founded by family. Co-founder Rudy Heinatz is Mike’s brother in law.

    Most of the Marker Nine designs were first sketched with pencil and paper by Mike.

    Mike has always enjoyed sketching. “I used to get in trouble in school all the time for drawing instead of doing school work.”

    His art takes many forms. From sketching to working with his hands and building things. If you visit his home, an old farmhouse built in 1861, you’ll find vintage gas station signs, old gas pumps, a boat transformed into a playground for his children, an old camper he restored and lastly, a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer, which happens to be the inspiration behind the popular Woody design.

    What inspires Mike? Anything and everything.

    “Something will pop into my head or I’ll see something that sparks an idea so I’ll jot it down or draw a quick sketch and save it for later,” said Mike. “You can’t force it, you have to wait until the ideas start flowing and when they do, everything comes together.”

    Mike says his favorite Marker Nine design is the Sport Fishing Boat.

    “It’s a boat and I love boats!”

    There are always new designs in the works and Mike is currently working on a sailboat sketch and tossing around the idea of boat and duck shoes, which he thinks would be a crowd pleaser.

    And that crowd can be all over. Because you see, Mike said, “Marker Nine can be anywhere, from Massachusetts to Florida…it’s not just one area. It’s wherever you want it to be.”


    “I just like Sarah’s creek right there where the actual marker nine is. That’s where we came up with the name because I can’t tell you the number of hours of days I’ve spent there, heck probably years just sitting there in the chair, people pull up and you see them and talk to them. Some days we have 10 boats out there and some days, it’s just you. That’s the awesome part about it.”


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