Arcadia Marine History
- Ronald Stoops, the late founder of Arcadia Marine started his journey in life with graduating from Benzie Central High School in 1963.
- He began working at the Beulah Boat Shop that same spring, while also attending Johnson Evinrude schooling.
- He married his loving wife Susan Stoops in 1965.
- Ron was drafted and trained as a helicopter mechanic in early 1967 and was shipped out to Vietnam in the fall of 1967. He encountered many hardships and tragedies while serving his country but still came home eager to get back to work.
- Ron returned to the states in 1968 and worked at a small boat shop until he, his wife Susan, and their brand new baby girl Amy returned to Arcadia in the spring of 1970
- Ron found employment at Murray’s Boat Shop in Traverse City for the next couple of years
- Ron found employment closer to home at Onekama Marine, and he worked and honed his skills there for the next 3 years.
- In 1975 Ron and Susan had already welcomed another child into the world, Rachel, and made the life-changing decision to start their own business together.
- They began their entrepreneurial adventure by renting out the old campground that used to sit on the waterfront in Arcadia. They rented both camping and dock space, while Ron repaired boats. It was a meagre living but a living.
- In 1978, after a couple of years of saving up the two decided to buy the property our business sits on today. They built one pole barn that year and started renting storage space. The family also welcomed their final child and heir to the throne, Jim.
- Ron and Susan kept building storage barns and repairing boats until they built their marine store in 1989. In which they sold parts, tackle, and stored files.
- In 1990 the business was in full swing and made the investment to purchase a travel hoist, which is still in use today. Arcadia Marine had to build piers for the hoist to travel over the water on, and pour the cement drive for it.
- In 1994 the company made another investment of purchasing a large barge and crane. The two pieces of equipment were used to drive piling in for new dockage, lift heavy pieces of equipment to and off the barge, and for reclaiming a good handful of the lost lumber at the lake bottom from the sunken logging ships that used to bustle in and out of Arcadia’s harbor.
- Over the next four years, the business grew and gave the business room to expand in equipment. Things such as tools, vehicles, our many jack stands, all were purchased in this time frame.
- As 1998 came along, Ron decided that he wanted an ice cream shop. So the two made the decision that they would invest their money into building what is now the Arcadia Ice House.
- The construction lasted until 2001 when the couple finally opened their new business. As Ron returned to the wrench, Susan picked up the scoop and created what is the excellent customer service reputation we have today.
- Four years down the road an opportunity opened for the couple. The gas station next door, Max’s, popped up for sale. They happily took advantage of it.
- Construction began that winter, the final touches were made in the spring, and Max’s opened anew.
- In 2012 Jim convinced Ron and Sue to purchase a dredge to do various dredging jobs, including the channel in Arcadia. Jim founded “Arcadia Dock and Dredge”.
- In 2014 Ron and Sue decided to incorporate Arcadia Marine. In the process, they bestowed Jim with a ? share of the business. He officially was an owner.
- On April 24, 2016, Ron lost his fight against cancer. He was suffering from a rare form of brain cancer believed to be caused by agent orange. A chemical used on the jungles in Vietnam to kill all the life and expose the guerrilla fighters hidden among the trees. Also in 2016, the family made the decision to close Max’s after years of terribly crippling business, and use the building and property for more productive means.
- The Arcadia Marine crew began remodeling Max’s building once again. By the spring of 2017, Jim and Susan unveiled the new Arcadia Marine official location and parts store.
We hope you enjoyed the history of Arcadia Marine and its founding family. We are striving to make plenty more history in the years to come.