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A New Life

Couple wants to build ‘mom & pop’ business

May 23, 2009
By SHAWN M. TOMLINSON, The Leader-Herald

CAROGA LAKE - For most people, starting one successful business and selling it would be enough for one lifetime.

Not so for Karl and Carol Ziemann.

The couple opted for a new life in the cold weather of January to move north out of Queens to Caroga Lake to open the Caroga Marina.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Shawn M. Tomlinson
The Caroga Lake Marina & General Store is shown at the confluence of West and East Caroga Lakes Wednesday.

The Ziemanns' company was a successful manufacturer of EKG heart monitoring harnesses they sold to Berkshire Hathaway. Both Karl and Carol still work for the company - Karl as international sales manager and Carol as the person who sets up national and international conventions - but now they do it from home at Caroga Lake.

Actually that's Caroga Lakes. The Caroga Marina is at the confluence of both East and West Caroga Lakes. Route 10, which passes in front of the building, goes over a bridge there. The water that flows underneath is the link between the two lakes.

"We were looking for a new business to start," Carol Ziemann said Wednesday. "First we were looking a things like starting a UPS store or something like that. Then we started looking at marinas."

Karl said they knew some of the upstate lakes because they often traveled them to use their boat. They looked at Lake George, Schroon Lake and other areas, but said when they found the Caroga Marina, it was the place for them.

"We were looking for a mom-and-pop operation without a lot of employees," Carol said.

Right now, aside from hiring contractors to build their docks and bring materials to update the marina, the Ziemanns have the whole family working with them.

Karl's father, Karl A. Ziemann, lives in Hadley and worked for the Hadley-Luzerne School District for 10 years after he retired. He's helping out - and going fishing - at the marina.

Son Dan Ziemann, an economics major at the University at Albany is doing a lot of the work, too.

"It's a real big change," Dan said about living and working in Caroga Lake. "But I'm happy about being up here."

Dan has worked most summers as a lifeguard and has helped has dad with their boat, but he said the change from one boat to a bunch of boats along with all the other work at the marina can be challenging.

"This is something new to be figured out," Dan said. "Something new every day. We opened when the ice melted."

Daughter Christine, who lives and works in Boston, designed and maintains the Ziemanns' Web site, www.carogalakemarina.com.

The couple plans to open a general store at the site, hence the official name of the business, Caroga Lake Marina & General Store.

"We've had a lot of good feedback from the community," Carol said. "We want to reopen the general store that was here in the 1930s, Putman's. We don't want to change the character of the place."

"That's why we came here," Karl said.

Since they arrived, the Ziemanns have had 10 new docks built and refurbished the existing ones that were salvageable.

"It's a plan in progress," Karl said. "We hope to take some classes in January, February, March in Florida to teach us how to be better at this."

"We've gotten a lot of support from the community," Carol said. "People in the area have been amenable."

She said Canada Lake Store's Bill Fielding helped her a lot by giving her his vendor's list, which helped her get started contacting suppliers for the marina and forthcoming store.

"He really didn't have to do that," she said. "It saved me a lot of time."

Karl and Carol Ziemann still are adjusting to their new life in Caroga Lake. They said they are focused on living a more relaxed life in the Adirondacks, but the marina and store will keep them busy.

For more information about the marina, the forthcoming general store or the "launch & lunch" events the Ziemanns plan, call 835-6615 or go to their Web site.

 
 

 

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