Friday, August 10, 2012
New owner has big plansfor SML Dock & Lodge
There's good news about a lake landmark. Smith Mountain Dock & Lodge, which was bought at auction late last month, not only will stay open, but there are plans to add a campsite and start a boat and personal watercraft rental business.
Tom King, a Richmond developer and retired CPA, along with a group of investors bought the Penhook property. It includes rentals and a marina known for its "pet carp." The friendly fish congregate around the dock waiting for food - popcorn or peanut butter, which they suck from the toes of willing visitors.
"It's still open, and yes, you're still able to feed the carp," said King. "It was operating on a shoestring, so first we are going to catch up and then improve it."
The marina, which includes seven motel-style units, as well as a house available for rent, has struggled in recent years. But, King said, he is convinced it can turn a profit.
"It is absolutely a diamond in the rough," he said. "I've run some strong projections that show the marina can more than pay its way, throw off a great return to investors, while allowing us to improve the site every year until the economy rebounds and we can build it into a pure destination on its own."
King said he became interested in the property when he got to know one of the previous owners, and through him, met Todd and Donna Holcomb, who have operated the marina for years, and, according to the new owner, will continue to do so.
"Todd and Donna are two of the finest people I've ever been privileged to know," said King. "The more I was around them, the more I knew I had to make this work."
Plans are for a full-service and rustic campground to be complete by spring 2013. The Southern Bell Cruise Boat will launch from SML Dock & Lodge on Saturday. The boat will be available for charter for weddings or other special events, and lunch and dinner cruises.King said a Customer Appreciation Day also will take place on Saturday.
For information about rentals, call 565-0222.
Customer Appreciation Day
Music, cotton candy free hot dogs, commemorative posters and product demonstrations.
Where; Smith Mountain Dock & Lodge, 300 Locust Lane, Penhook, between R6 and R8
When: Saturday, Aug. 1