2016-11-10 / Front Page

Business Earns Award

By Erich T. Doerr


Spring Lodge and Cottages earned Business of the Year honors. The operation of the lodge is an ongoing family project for (from right) owners Ernie and Carla Ziemkiewicz, daughter Ashley Sherlund, and son-in-law Ross Sherlund. Spring Lodge and Cottages earned Business of the Year honors. The operation of the lodge is an ongoing family project for (from right) owners Ernie and Carla Ziemkiewicz, daughter Ashley Sherlund, and son-in-law Ross Sherlund. The Spring Lodge and Cottages in Cedarville was honored as the Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year at its annual dinner and awards ceremony Wednesday, November 2, at the Hessel School House. Owners Ernie and Carla Ziemkiewicz have strived to remodel the resort since they purchased it three years ago.

The waterfront resort on Snows Channel operates seasonally from May 1 to November 1 each year.

“I’ve had tears in my ears ever since that night,” Mrs. Ziemkiewicz said of the awards presentation, noting they have worked so hard on the property and it is rewarding to be recognized for it. “It’s overwhelming that we were chosen.”

“We’re so proud and honored to be part of this community,” Mr. Ziemkiewicz said. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The Ziemkiewiczs lived in Sylvania, Ohio for 30 years and first came to visit the Les Cheneaux area in 2001 after daughter Ashley Sherlund moved to the area. They stayed at the lodge and enjoyed the area’s natural beauty, wildlife, fishing, and closeknit nature community. From then on the couple spent every vacation and long weekend they could in the area, desiring to move here before finally doing that in 2011 when Mr. Ziemkiewicz landed a job in Sault Ste. Marie. In 2013 they purchased the lodge from Charlie Collins. It is their first involvement in the resort business.

“We want to maintain the reputation it had in its heyday,” Mr. Ziemkiewicz said. “We strived to make it a destination that people wanted to spend their vacations at again.”

The Ziemkiewiczs have been working to fix up the resort since the day they bought, renovating the lodge and cottages inside and out. The family has done much of the work itself but called in expert plumbers, electricians, and carpenters when needed. The overhaul has seen all of the resort’s water and gas lines, decks, and railings replaced. The family replaced every mattress on the property after buying new ones locally.

Son-in-law Ross Sherlund spends much of the winter remodeling the cabins. The family has replaced the walls and furniture in many of the cottages, re-roofed the majority of them, and swapped much of the interior paneling for local cedar. They even tore down and rebuilt one cottage.

They said the best part of their job is meeting all of their guests.

“It’s like an extension of your family,” Mr. Ziemkiewicz said. “It’s gratifying to provide something that makes them come back year after year.”

“We love all the new people who come, too,” Mrs. Ziemkiewicz added.

The resort’s rental boat fleet has seen a recent modernization effort as several have been given new motors.

Mrs. Ziemkiewicz and Mrs. Sherlund work at the business all the time. Mr. Ziemkiewicz and Mr. Sherlund work additional jobs at a bank and family excavating company, respectively. The family receives additional help from full-time employee Derek Burger, who fills various roles to help maintain the property and its assets. A small cleaning crew helps maintain the cottages.

The lodge was one of three nominees for business of the year. The other two this year included the Tassier Boat Works and Shawn Fitzgerald Plumbing.

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