Louies Lakeside Bistro & BBQ
Don’t forget to call ahead for your ribs for Saturday!! We have ran out two weekends in a row! Call 641-799-6770 to place your orders!
Rathbun Lake Marina is Buck Creek Marina owned by Your Boat Works LLC
Rathbun Marina is Buck Creek Marina. Buck Creek Marina is owned by Your boat Works llc. Services offered, Mechanical, marine fabrication / canvas repair, lift services, hotel, restaurant, multiple campsites, slips up to 85 ft
21646 Marina Pl
Boat repair season is March 1 - November 15 Boat rebuild and re-canvas season is November 15 - February 28 April 1 - October 31 is our official season
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November 2009 is when (We ) Douglas and Sheila Clemens, first became owners of Buck Creek and South Fork Marinas. Our first year started out with the normal difficulties associated with the transfer of a large service oriented business from one owner to another. The most important change that was expected as we came in as new owners was service.
Our first priority was to establish control of Chaos. An atmosphere of self service had been developed over the previous years, which created challenges in changing the culture of both marinas. Patrons were fueling their boats in their slips in unsafe manners, open flame grilling was being done on the docks regularly, loud music on docks and campgrounds till early morning hours, the list was long. In short, the Marinas were not “Family Friendly” and not something the State of Iowa could be proud of, which, was my personal goal to create. To be fair, South Fork Marina was much more controlled than Buck Creek as our manager Byron Parker created a more structured environment.
So in the Spring of 2010 we began the task of grabbing the Tiger by the Tail. We received new asphalt overlay on our roads courtesy of monies from a flood recovery program through the Federal Government. 2010 was also Rathbun Lakes new Project Manager Phil Browns first year. The Army Corps and Phil were instrumental in getting our roads repaired and being very supportive of our intentions to “Turn this Ship another Direction”. Then it started Raining and Raining and we were now in a flood season.
During our first year of almost record flooding 926.69 we learned a lot about our infrastructure, our customers, our capabilities and our temperaments. I would not wish a first year like that was on any one, but the flood of 2010 did bring us together as a community and helped establish that Sheila and I were serious about making this place work and about serving the Boating and Camping Community.
2011 was a year of rebuilding infrastructure after the flood, establishing rules ( yes new owners meant new rules as well) and continuing to grab the Tiger. Throughout this year an incredible amount of learning was the norm. Docks and their operation, store, employees, service shop, upholstery shop, Hotel, and Campgrounds all have an optimum operating range and we were finding them. Relationships would be the best one word description for 2011.
2012 started out very well until it kept raining and raining, again, and the water didn’t seem to be going out, just coming in. Another flood year, but thankfully not another record breaker. This was the year the Army Corps began a 3 year study to determine if the “Water Release Manual” needed to be updated.
Sheila and I persevered. We experienced the tragic death of our good friend and retail manager Larry Wilkinson, said goodbye to a number of customers that were taken through illness etc., rotated many employees in and back out the door, rebuilt anything we could afford, repaired anything thing we could and survived. 2010 through December 2014 we experienced 2 major floods, 1 minor, multiple storms that damaged infrastructure, sinking boats, equipment failures, sinking docks due to snow load, lack of available funding for growth, the “Great Recession” after affects and a host of new government regulations designed to keep the government in operation but hurt business’ (taxes). A 300% increase in property taxes, increase in income taxes and as an added Note we were also having to compete against our own Government with the addition of the new Honey Creek resort on Rathbun Lake. We were not able to obtain any financing for growth through Banks because the Marinas were on Federal Leased Land. The banks would always have second place on a mortgage so no banks were willing to take this position.
Through a mutual friend we met our current partner Brett Nuckolls. Brett and his family had boated at Rathbun Lake for over 20 years he had a personal interest in helping the marina achieve it’s full potential. December 2014 Brett Nuckolls became our partner. It would be easy to assume the most important thing Brett has brought to the business is available financing, but that would not be true. Brett has brought a wealth of real world business experience. He has patiently helped us to transition from a Soul Proprietorship to a Limited Liability Corporation mentality. I could spend pages talking about all the real world lessons Brett has taught me about business but simply put our partnership started out well and continues to this day. Sheila manages the store, hotel, book keeping operations and keeps the reins tight on me. Brett handles the 30,000 ft view doing insurance, taxes, government regulations, IDNR requirements, Army Corps Lease Holder relations etc. Brett also does all the concrete work as that is his specialty and steps into any project he feels like at the time as well as design lighthouses, campgrounds basketball courts, etc.. I build, build, build, rebuild and repair anything and everything from sewer to lighthouses to campgrounds to canvas / upholstery . We have a very healthy partnership that continues to build and improve the facilities and campus at Rathbun Marina and we hope to welcome you aboard in the future.
My Face Book page has been requesting for 8 years that I finish “Our Story” and post it to our page. The reason it has taken so long is first, I can’t type (hunt and peck) and how do you summarize all the emotion, support, and genuine Love that has been given by so many employees, customers , sub-leasers, and friends in order to make Rathbun Marina something that the State of Iowa can be proud of. I can’t, so until I write more.........
Sincerely.........Douglas W. Clemens