Popular Virginia Marina Changing Hands

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November 11, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Tom and Ellen Buck, who have owned and operated Mitchell's Point Marina since 2003, have announced plans to sell the Huddleston, Va.-based business.

In an email sent to tenants of the recreational vehicle sites at their campground, the Bucks confirmed rumors that tenants soon would have new landlords, reported.

"We are pleased to announce that we are in negotiations with Jeff and Debbie Prowse and Tim Dellis to sell Mitchell's Point to them. As you know, [they] have been operating the successful SML Boat Rental business at the marina for the last three years. They bring that expertise as well as exposure to most aspects of the marina, RV park, gas docks and restaurant. They share the passion for customer service and good business practice that will ensure that Mitchell's Point remains a successful venture."

Jeff Prowse, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, became a full-time laker after his final assignment at the Pentagon ended in 2009. Buck credited a 12-fold-plus increase in the business of SML Boat Rentals over the last three seasons, from $30,000 to over $350,000 per year, to Prowse's management style, expertise and enthusiasm.

Debbie Prowse teaches information technology in the Bedford school system.

"We live just two miles from the marina – one of the world's easiest commutes," said Prowse.

The date for exact transfer of ownership is yet to be determined, Buck said, but it will occur before the 2012 season. All aspects of the operation, including slip rental, Crazy Ian's Gas Dock, and ownership of the restaurant, will change hands.

The name "Mitchell's Point Marina" will remain. According to Prowse, Scott Heath, 51, and his wife, Ida Jo, operators of Sweetwater RV Park on White House Road in Moneta, will reopen the restaurant as Mitchell's on April 1. Their son, Scott Heath Jr., 25, and his wife, Hanna, will manage day-to-day operations.

"We will continue offering a family atmosphere, concentrating on quality food at reasonable prices and superb customer service," said Scott Heath Sr. "We plan to do some remodeling, including addition of a walk-up cafeteria window where boaters can get quick carry-out service."

The Heaths, who are applying for an ABC license to serve wine and beer, will begin accepting applications for employment after Jan. 1.

Buck cited the involvement with a new and similar business, Halesford Harbour on the former Campers' Paradise property near Hales Ford Bridge, as the impetus for the sale.

"Ian [Buchanan, who was gas dock operator and maintenance manager at Mitchell's Point] and I have been torn between these two projects and feel that we are not doing justice to either one. It was time to make a very difficult decision to sell our baby – Mitchell's Point. The one thing we were sure of was that we wanted it to remain an RV park, marina and restaurant and continue to provide the same or better services to you in the future," the letter stated.

Buchanan will work full time at Halesford Harbour.

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