Erie Marine transforms bowling alley as part of expansion
Fish? Check. Water? Check. Check. Boats to get out on the water for those fish? Hmm…
That question about the local availability of fishing boats prompted Brian Zarembski to do something about it.
Zarembski, owner of Sheffield’s Lake’s Erie Marine, was introduced to boating and fishing at the ripe old age of four. The Detroit native said his dad, older brother and he were on the lake and rivers adjacent to the city whenever possible. He loved it and still does.
Weekdays, he applies the business degree he earned from Wayne State University as a career banker specializing in foreign currency trading.
Other times, he’s on the water. Zarembski admitted he even finds pleasure just looking at the lake as he makes the drive from his Avon Lake home to Erie Marine at 5400 Lake Road, just west of Erie Outfitters.
Calling himself a “hard core fisherman,” Zarembski began entering walleye fishing competitions 15 years ago. He noted there was no one in the area selling fishing boats and saw a business opportunity to pursue.”I felt I’d be good at it.” He’d become familiar with Sheffield Lake. “I thought it was a great place.” When an auto parts store just west of Erie Outfitters became available in 2015, Zarembski purchased it and Erie Marine became a reality, initially selling Warrior fishing boats. Today they sell six brands of fishing boats. “We
were out of space pretty quickly,” he said. He began looking for a location to expand to.
“I contacted the Lorain County Port Authority and they pointed me to some spots in the City of Lorain. I also looked in Port Clinton and Cleveland. I’d heard the city owned the bowling alley and might be interested in selling it.”
Zarembski contacted the city and, last year, struck a deal to purchase the bowling alley and adjacent property. “It was a perfect fit, close to the existing location and Sheffield Lake’s boat launch,” he said.
He refers to the current expansion as Phase 1. The bowling alley itself is 18,000 square feet. Zarembski plans to build offices for his company as well as another company that provides financing for boat purchases. Service and rigging will be done in the space and seasonal rental will be available for up to 60 boats.
Zarembski made a point about how easy city officials had been to work with. “Other cities have made my life hard, not Sheffield Lake.” He said he is excited to be part of the Mayor and Council’s vision to make the city a lakefront destination. “We want to be a part of that and help make that grow.”
When Phase 1 is completed this early fall, the company will employ ten full-time people, “and we’ll grow from there,” Zarembski said.