In 1995, after years spent longing for their own boat shop, Guy and Erin Conner finally realized their dreams. But when they opened Midway Marine, they had no idea their maiden voyage into business would last a quarter-century and grow to include multiple expansions into several types of businesses.
In 2017, two decades after opening their own business, the Conners acquired Fulton’s Midway Marina, expanding their nautical holdings and bringing in a natural sister company to the boat shop. The following year, they found themselves in possession of some of the marina’s adjacent land, and began charting plans for their next incarnation: cabin development.
After garnering inspiration during a few vacations, the Conners built rental cabins of their own. Nearly a year after they hit the market, the Conners’ waterside cabins stay booked roughly 50% of the time. It’s a favorable margin in what can sometimes be a very seasonal sector.
“We have a lot of different people come through,” Erin Conner said. “It is really enjoyable for us to get to know our renters and listen to their stories.”
Most of the cabin clientele are out-of-towners looking for a peaceful getaway, but sometimes even locals will drop in for a relaxing weekend.
“Our game plan from the beginning was to provide all boaters and outdoors-people a place to stay,” Guy Conner said. “But as it turns out, we have a lot more people coming to the cabins, from all different backgrounds and places.”
As cabin rentals started to grow, the Conners knew that the next logical step was a restaurant for their cabin tenants and visitors coming in and out of the marina. So, the couple opened Guy’s Place in Oct. 2019.
As expected, the restaurant stays busy starting during the lunch hour rush. Being the baby of the Conners’ business ventures, the restaurant demands the most attention. Most days, the couple can be found working alongside the chefs in the kitchen, creating new recipes and managing the restaurant front-to-back, inside and out. They do, however, still find time during the day to touch base with the boat shop and keep tabs on the cabin reservations.
Both Guy and Erin Conner work long hours but say they would not have it any other way. Since the first day they opened the boat shop, they have devoted every ounce of their combined time to making each of their businesses successful and treating all of their customers with respect and kindness.
“We have just always been determined and we keep that mindset every day – no matter what,” Erin Conner said. “Everything is good, and we’re going to work hard and be just fine.”
Both Connors credit at least part of their success to their loyal employees … their “work family,” as they call them. Managing three distinct businesses would stretch any two people paper-thin, so the Conners are quick to emphasize how grateful they are to have such helpful and trustworthy staffs helping them keep everything in check.
“Without our employees, our second family, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Erin Conner said.
To date, the Conners are a perfect three-for-three on deep-end dives into the business pond. Thrice they have founded and maintained successful businesses based on the couple’s love for the water and wilderness.
“We’ve always put everything into the Lord’s hands,” explained Guy. “Wherever He leads us, we go.”