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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Gruben’s Marina sold to local investors

Jodi Summit
Posted 1/8/15

LAKE VERMILION- Gruben’s Marina, a long-time marina and resort facility on Lake Vermilion, is now under new ownership. Owner Sally Gruben completed the sale to a group of local investors on Dec. …

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Gruben’s Marina sold to local investors


LAKE VERMILION- Gruben’s Marina, a long-time marina and resort facility on Lake Vermilion, is now under new ownership. Owner Sally Gruben completed the sale to a group of local investors on Dec. 31. The business will continue to operate under the name Gruben’s Marina. Sally had operated the marina since 1993. The business has been in the Gruben family since 1919.

Six local couples formed a partnership to run the marina. The new business will be headed by president Rick Sathre. Five of the six new owners involved are local property owners in Greenwood Township.

“I thank all of the wonderful customers and our community”, Sally Grubens said. “It has been many wonderful years but I am now retiring and can leave things in good hands with this group. They have many ideas to invest and serve our customers. It is a good time to transition and they will bring good things to Gruben’s.”

The community celebrated Sally Gruben with a party in her honor last August, while the business was in transition. The event was attended by several hundred well-wishers.

Rick Sathre, president of Gruben Holdings LLC, noted that the group had arranged to continue the business under the name Gruben’s Marina.

“We have a unique opportunity to carry on serving our customers with integrity under the Gruben name and in this beautiful location in the heart of Lake Vermilion,” said Sathre. “Our investors are local couples, who all desire that Gruben’s Marina fulfill its destiny as a key community asset. We want to assure that Gruben’s will continue, and of course will invest, improve and be good neighbors and employers here on the lake.”

Sathre said the impetus for the purchase stemmed from the desire to keep the services provided at the marina available to lake and island residents. When Moccasin Point Resort closed their store and divided their property into lots for sale, the area lost a popular gathering spot and community resource. Sathre said the small restaurant at Moccasin, which served hamburgers, has been missed, and they didn’t want to see the same thing happen at the Gruben’s property.

The new owners are looking into the possibility of adding a small grill to the Gruben’s Store in the future.

“We are working on a Gruben’s revival,” he said.

Gruben’s Marina consists of over 60 boat slips and over 1,140 feet of prime Lake Vermilion shoreline with over eight acres of land. Services include boat launch, storage and repair. The marina also offers vacation rentals and a convenience store.

The new owner group intends to continue and expand those offerings in 2015 and beyond and some employees will be returning. The facility has been in the Gruben family since about 1919. It is located in the heart of Lake Vermilion in Greenwood Township, about midway between Tower and Cook.

The property includes four rental cabins, three of which are available for rental year-round. The new owners are working on light renovations in all the cabins, which will be completed in time for the summer rental season.

The new owners are hoping to move the convenience store down closer to the lake, to an existing heated building, but are waiting for final approval and permits.

“This will make it more convenient for our boat-in customers,” said Sathre, as well as those driving in cars which will be able to park adjacent to the new location.

The marina convenience store will continue to sell basic grocery items, gasoline for boats and snowmobiles, and general fishing and boating supplies, and T-shirts and sweatshirts.

The new owners are adding new energy and vision to the long-standing lake business.

“We are working adding charm to the long-existing cabins,” said Sathre, who added that renovations include the purchase of new beds and mattresses. The new owners will also be renovating the house currently lived in by Sally Gruben, who is planning on moving to Duluth this winter.

Gruben’s is currently open for winter and snowmobile business. The new owners include Rick and Joanne Sathre, Tom and Renne.


5 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • jtormoen

    My compliments to Mr. Rick Sathre and others on what sounds like a fine venture. Wish you the best of luck. Just a note from my memoirs that in 1950 at age 14 I was introduced to Gruben's by visiting Vermilion with my parents and a few others, being taken in one of their launches over to what soon became our family island in Frazer Bay. And while we docked earlier at Timbuktu and later at Shamrock due to the proximity locations to our place, did visit and shop at Gruben's depending on our needs. Always seemed an excellent business in an even more excellent location on the lake.

    Sunday, January 11, 2015 Report this

  • Joel,

    Thank you for your thoughts, and your remembrances. We are hard at work preparing for the future. This marina is important to the lake visitors. The marinas and resorts serve such an important function. If they aren't preserved it will become less likely that the young folks will come and learn to love our lovely lake.


    Monday, January 12, 2015 Report this

  • Elaine

    In our online version we can't see who all the new owners are. We can only see that the new owners are Rick and Joanne Sathre and Tom and Renne...... Happy retirement, Sally!

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 Report this

  • Elaine,

    The managing partners are Rick Sathre, Tom Aro and Dan Carnicom. Together that brings over 120 years of management experience in finance, business development, engineering and planning. It also brings us older mostly retired guys back to work.

    Sally wanted buyers who valued her marina business and what it offers to the lake folks. We know how important the marina is. We see opportunity to grow the business as well as to update what the Gruben family has built and perpetuated for 90 years.


    Thursday, January 15, 2015 Report this

  • Elaine

    Thank you, for the update. We live on Isle of Pines and look forward to walking over for ice cream or a burger with our granddaughters. Good luck to all in your new venture.

    Friday, January 16, 2015 Report this