Open Waters

Socks Marina Represents a Local Legacy

Writer / Angela Cornell
Photographer / Kari Lipscomb

Socks MarinaThere are few things more glorious than being out on open water. The wind seems purer, and the sun feels warmer and brighter. People also tend to act happier, almost as though it’s easier to smile when out on a boat with friends and a beverage in hand. Creating moments like this is why Socks Marina exists. 

Socks Marina is a full-service, year-round facility that offers off-season storage. They also have boat sales for those who are looking to buy. They offer boats from Trifecta, Viaggio and PolarKraft, as well as outboards from Mercury and Tohatsu. They also sell used watercraft. 

Now in two locations, one on Webster Lake and a newly purchased marina on the Barbee chain of lakes, Socks Marina has been helping people get out on the water for more than 60 years. The Webster Lake location was originally purchased by the Coverstone family in the 1960s from Francis “Sock” Shear, and except for about 25 years around the 1980s and 1990s, it has been in the family ever since. 

The current owner, Ryan Coverstone, grew up around the family business. “I was about 4 or 5 years old at that point, so I used to hang out here with my grandmother and grandfather,” Coverstone says. “My father and lot of his cousins worked here at that time.”

The Coverstone family has served generations of lake-goers through the years, and many people in their 60s and 70s have fond memories of visiting the lake via Socks Marina and bringing their children and grandchildren. So, when the opportunity came to expand into Barbee Lake, they decided to take it. “It’s pretty much located right in the middle of the Barbee chain of lakes,” Coverstone says. 

The Barbee location was purchased from family friends.

“The gentleman we bought the marina from was an old classmate of my father,” Coverstone says. Throughout the years, both marinas have worked well together. “When it was time and it was good for all of us, it happened to time out well.”

The Biesemeyer family owned that marina for generations.

Socks Marina“Actually, I think the other place had more continuous family ownership than Socks did,” Coverstone says.

In his mind, expanding to Barbee is a merging of two family legacies, especially since they have retained Scott Biesemeyer, the son of the previous owner, as the lead technician.

“He’s a huge part of the reason why we bought the place, because he came with it,” Coverstone says. “He’s doing a great job for us and we look forward to broadening our family from the Webster location on down to the Barbee location. It’s nice to have that piece of it.”

It’s taken a lot of work to get the Barbee location ready for a spring opening. However, the Coverstones and Biesemeyers are excited for the new season. Coverstone’s father, though retired, also comes in frequently to help out by spearheading the effort to clean the marina and get it ready for the new season. 

Part of merging two family legacies includes intermingling and retaining as many traditions as possible while achieving new goals.

“We’re upgrading and updating,” Coverstone says. “We’re not trying to forget the place it was before – just a new version of it, and we hope a better one.”

Since the Barbee location is on seven lakes and sees about five times the number of people as Webster Lake, there is more opportunity to expand the Socks service area.

“All the lakes in our area are their own little community around the lake,” Coverstone says. “We are really excited to be a part of the community around the Barbee Lake.”

Already, the Socks Marina staff members have been welcomed with open arms.

Since the pandemic began, lake life has been more popular than ever.

“We saw a huge resurgence in lake properties and lake activities,” Coverstone says. “It was good for us to see. That’s kind of the lifeblood of our business and our small communities who depend on those folks. The demand is still there. People invested a lot of money into it, whether they decided to buy a place on the lake after visiting for years, upgraded their boat – those kinds of things.”

Socks MarinaCoverstone predicts that the 2022 lake season will be more of the same.

“It’s going to be really busy,” he says. “There’s still a huge demand for goods and services. People are really champing at the bit to get back out on the water. I think we’re going to see some record-breaking years in sales and service and storage. We’re doing our best to plan for those, so we can serve our customers.”

Since so many people are eagerly looking forward to getting back on the lake, Coverstone recommends that those interested in purchasing watercraft, motors or even lakefront property should put their order in early.

“Most all of our manufacturers are on an allotted production because their demand is so high,” he says. “We’re only going to get so many new units this year, whether that’s boats or engines. That’s just the way it is everywhere in the country. If you find something that you like, it’s time to jump on it because the price keeps going up for us and the consumer.”

To discover more about Socks Marina, their services and the boats they have for sale, visit Call the Barbee location at 574-834-2595, or put in at the marina at 314 EMS B61 Lane in Warsaw. 

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