Tom and Nancy Ranes were looking for their next adventure when they discovered a marina tucked away on Lake Marion’s first water.
J&J Lakeside Marina, in the same location for 30 years, is now under new ownership. The Ranes recently made the move to Clarendon County from Fredericksburg, Va.
“We wanted to own and operate a marina,” said Tom. “This was an ideal opportunity.”
Tom worked in aviation maintenance for 30 years and Nancy worked in customer service and also for an insurance agency. Tom said that it hasn’t been hard for him to transition from working on airplane engines to boat engines.
“Mechanics are mechanics. There are specialties but the basic skills apply to all machinery,” he said.
The Ranes have lived in the small-business world before. In the 1990s, they owned and operated a small aircraft repair business in Ohio.
What attracted the Ranes to J&J was more than just one aspect.
“This isn’t just a repair shop. We provide waterfront services and also have wet slips and storage units,” he said. “We have all of the services of a marina on a small footprint.”
The Ranes are also enjoying the people in the community.
“The people are wonderful, warm and welcoming here,” Nancy said. “We hope to cater to the local community as well as seasonal customers on the lake.”
The Ranes have a full-time certified mechanic working for them, Patrick Meares.
The marina, founded by Jim and Janet Keith, has been a landmark on first water for nearly three decades providing boat maintenance and repair since 1983. Tom said that he plans on building upon what the Keiths created.
“This place has a deep-rooted history in Clarendon County,” said Tom. “We want to continue those excellent services provided by Jim and Janet and add on to them to include more boat rentals and other services.”
The Ranes are a Yamaha, Mercury Marine and Godfrey pontoon boat service center and can service other makes or models as well. They also have several boats available for rent.
Tom said that they would like to build up their waterfront side to cater to more boaters on the lake. Potential future plans include rental of personal watercraft, kayaks, paddleboats and adding a café or some type of food stand.
“Our heads are spinning of the potential for this marina,” said Nancy.
Summer hours are seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting Nov. 1.