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8/15/22 Changing of the Guard: Sterett Creek Marina gets new ownership

Just about 9 years ago this time of the year, we set out on our quest to purchase a marina/campground. We spent time researching businesses around the country, then a couple of months traveling around the country looking at many different properties before we came across Sterett Creek Marina.

On our first visit we were awed by the serene beauty of the land and lake and saw its potential. We knew that with work, time, effort and money we could turn it around and make it our dream of becoming a destination. After three visits, days of brainstorming, and countless hours of number crunching we made an offer, spending our life savings, and purchased the business, Jan 1, 2014. We sold our home in Phoenix and we jumped in with both feet to started out on our mission. The two previous owners with their 30 years of experience were honest in their dealings with us and prepared us well for our journey. It wasn’t long before we realized that one our greatest assets was our customers as they proved time and time again to be patient with our newfangled ideas, by working with, supporting, and encouraging us, giving their feedback, good and bad all along the way. With such a large property, comprised of several businesses, we realized the value of hard working, outgoing dedicated employees. We have been fortunate to have the team that shared our vision, our enthusiasm and our goals, staying with us through the ups and downs.

Our growing pains were continuous, our resolve stayed strong.

To say that we experienced numerous obstacles would be an understatement, and mother nature proved to be our strongest challenger time and time again. In our very first months, we were working on the exterior of the motel in the coldest weather in thirty years as the lake ice grew to 11 inches thick ruining our gas dock. That May, a storm came in and each docks anchoring broke loose knocking into one another. In August 2015, our second year, we had straight-line winds and lost Dock 5. The third year we had a tornado touch down 3 days before July 4th weekend, damaging the campground and ripping part of the roof off of the marina. In fact, there were weather challenges every year, typically on holiday weekends. We experienced the floods of 2019 where the water level reached its highest level ever forcing us to close the whole resort down. And of course, who could forget the following year when Covid struck and sent the Country into turmoil. These events challenged us but we never felt defeated. We used these experiences to make changes, improvements, and grow.

We really never had a written plan for growth and expansion; we either listened to our customers or out of sheer necessity started out fixing, repairing, remodeling, replacing and eventually expanding. Each time we did an improvement our customers enthusiastically acknowledged them and that encouragement kept us moving on our path. Whether it was motel upgrades, a new walkway, widening the entry ramp, the wave break, new docks, re-opening the pool, the Drunken Minnow and the patio, the campground upgrades and expansion, the golf cart parking, the lighting, spider control, the new parking lot expansion, all were a result of reacting to our customers’ needs and wishes.

Today, as we look back over these years, we know that all the “blood, sweat and tears” that we experienced and the results that it produced far exceeded our expectations and dreams, and we know that investment of time and effort was well worth it. More importantly, we see and feel the sense of community that is here. Whether in the campground, at the marina, on a boat, at the Minnow or in the motel, we see family and friends enjoying all the property has to offer. We all have become a very close-knit community.  We have seen our Sterett Creek family grow and the growth of the each of your families. We watched the changes year to year that mark the passing of time. We have many customers that had parents or grandparents coming here over the past 40 years and to see their grandchildren and great grandchildren become seasonal campers or slip holders is both exciting and rewarding. Sterett Creek has no doubt become the destination we hoped it could be and has raised the bar on Truman Lake.

However, there is still so much that can be done and we are at a point in our life where we feel it necessary to “pass the torch” to someone new that shares our vision of customer service, innovation and setting the stage for families and friends to enjoy the outdoors and bond. Over the past three years we have had several purchase offers from large investment firms with little experience in properties such as ours but who saw the amazing opportunities the business has to offer. This past February we met a company that we feel shares our vision for the property and will be able to grow this business to the next level. It felt the time was right to sell. Although they are buying multiple small operations such as ours, their goal is to maintain the small mom and pop feel by keeping the existing management and employees in place. Obviously, there will be some changes but we think it will be for the better and we are very excited and encouraged at the plans they have for the future. In fact, we are so excited we are becoming an investor! The two owners of the company and their families are avid outdoors people, into camping, boating and paragliding, and have ties to Missouri. They are excited about the property and all it can become. We know you will welcome the new owners the way you welcomed us. You will begin to see changes over the coming weeks.

We cannot say enough about the support we have received over the years from you our customers, our employees, our community, our fellow marina operators on the lake, our vendors and our partner, the Corps of Engineers. All of you have made our dreams come true and we will forever cherish these memories. We look forward to now be able to follow our dreams into our next adventure in life, whatever that may be, and come back to visit and see and enjoy all the new progress.

Sincerely,

Cathy & Ken Beyer

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