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New Owners Liked Campground’s Sense of Community

February 23, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Welcome sign at Shady Acres Campground, Carver, Mass.

The new owners of Shady Acres Campground near Carver, Mass., had scoured the country for a park to buy, checking out sites from the Northeast to the West Coast. But none jumped out at them quite like the 63-acre campground in Carver, the only one that all four owners could agree on.

So Michael and Jaclyn Gingrich – along with Jaclyn’s parents, Scott and Susan Bacher – made an offer last August, and officially closed on the property at the end of January, The Enterprise News, Brockton, reported. The previous owners, Joseph and Denise Soares, recently retired after 20 years at Shady Acres, Jaclyn Gingrich said.

The new ownership group hails from Carlsbad, N.M., where the Bachers have owned the Carlsbad KOA campground for the past five years. Michael and Jaclyn Gingrich joined them in New Mexico nearly three years ago, after quitting their day jobs and selling their home in the Cincinnati area.

The move marked a major career shift for the Gingriches, who now live on the Carver property full time. Carver is a town of 900 located near Cape Cod. Michael Gingrich, 35, had worked nights as a ramp supervisor for Comair, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, at the Cincinnati airport. His wife, 26, put in six to seven days a week at a hospital as a clinical dietician.

Their conflicting schedules meant they didn’t see much of each other, so they ventured south to be able to work together. While there, Jaclyn Gingrich said they fell in love with the campground business – but not the desert landscape.

“The only thing that was missing was trees,” she said.

But there are plenty of trees surrounding Shady Acres’ 193 tent and RV campsites, most of which are reserved for customers who rent for the full April-to-October season. The property also had nostalgic value for the Gingriches, who had both vacationed in Massachusetts as children.

In addition to the scenery, Jaclyn Gingrich said, her family was attracted to the sense of community at the campground. At some of the other sites they toured, shared spaces such as playgrounds went unused, she said. But during a tour of Shady Acres, the group found that the play area was overrun with children. The owners also learned that many of the regular customers have become close friends during their years visiting the campground.

“It’s just one big summer family,” Michael Gingrich said.

That family-friendly atmosphere recently took on increased importance for the Gingriches: Shortly after the campground purchase was finalized, Jaclyn found out that she’s pregnant with the couple’s first child.

The new owners plan to introduce more community activities this year, including arts-and-crafts sessions and potluck dinners. The Bachers will continue to spend winters in New Mexico, joining their daughter and son-in-law in Carver for the summer months.

Aside from an RV technician, they don’t plan to hire any additional help for now, Jaclyn Gingrich said. However, they may be looking for someone to help pick up the slack during the later stages of her pregnancy, she said.

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