6/15/2009 Mon 9:47 PM 2 of 3
The building that was up town was sold to one of our customers from Grand Rapids, MI and he turned it into a summer business for his wife, called the Bear Lake Trading Post. Let me inject in here that from the time we arrived in Bear Lake up until around the mid 60's...Bear Lake had on the main street and nice hardware store, US Post Office, two grocery stores, a barber shop, a bakery, and nice theater (Cub theater), a Rexal Drug store, a variety store, two gift shops and another boat livery called Sportsman Headquarters, 3 gas stations.
Fast forward to Marina history...my fathers business started to grow leaps and bounds, I believe primarily because of the good person that he was...we had customers all over the state of Michigan and he was a very respected man. One thing I have never forgotten...long before Manistee started to dry up... the Polish people were some of our best customers, even when competition moved into Manistee...my father continued to out sell and out service them. To give you a small idea of his character, one day a lady came from Manistee, whose husband had purchased a boat and motor from my father. My father, many times would sell people products that he would personally carry the financing on. She took out the piece of paper, showing what she owed...told my father she would do the best she could as she was struggling because her husband was dying of cancer. Without hesitation, he took the bill from her hands and marked it PAID IN FULL. Now you have a little insight into Marlon Sholtey, that no one else knows. He never again mentioned to anyone what had transpired.
As we continued to get larger, the greed of competition started to move in...at one time there were two Mercury dealers in Bear Lake but no one on the water. I started attending Johnson Motor school with him in Waukeegan, Ill at the age of 17. The first large construction project that we had, he built the green building that has your show room...shortly thereafter, he built the metal green service building, where all our service work was done. The winter storage business started to grow very rapidly and out on Potter Rd, he built 3 large buildings.
The home that I am guessing you may live in by the Marina, was built in 1962. The motel in front of it was abandoned and converted into a store. He later rented that building to an insurance company ''Matthews Agency''.
I worked with my father for approximately 11 years. He did most of the selling, I did most of the service work, all the storage work and transported the new boats.
In 1964 I married a girl who vacationed on the north shore every summer and things in my life changed.
I truly believe that when I left the business in 1970, my father lost most of his interest in the marina. Shortly there after it was sold to Doug Keilen.
Before Doug purchased the marina the property was divided again. He never purchased the house, the motel nor the cape cod cottage beside the motel.
My father then divided that piece of property and sold the cottage to a man who had a trucking company in Ohio.
Before dads passing...he and mother were going back and forth to a home he purchased in Indiana and only used the Bear Lake house, for a summer place.
He passed away one morning sitting in the living room by the picture window, in the Bear Lake house...closed his eyes and never opened them again.
My mothers grieve was unbearable for her and she passed away 6 months to the day, that dad passed away.
About 30 days before her death she sold Doug the remaining part of what she owned on a land contract.
When you purchased the marina, I assume it was called Bear Lake Marine. That is the name Doug gave it. My father had named it Sholtey's Water Spot.