Ernst acquires Four Cs Marina
Christophers ran site for three decades
POINT BREEZE – For three decades Gene Christopher and his family have been mainstays on the Oak Orchard River, running Four C’s Marina. They expanded the business over the years adding a café, lodging and storage for boats.
On Thursday, the business was sold to Gatlen Ernst. In March he acquired the neighboring the Lake Breeze Marina. He will combine the two marinas into Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina.
“He’s a great guy,” Christopher said about Ernst.
Ernst started working at Lake Breeze Marina 10 years ago as a summer job when he was in college. He mowed the lawns and did other odd jobs at the marina. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nazareth College, he decided to stay on the Oak Orchard. He enjoys the boaters and the people on the river.
With Four C’s, he will gain some efficiencies with staff and equipment.
“It makes sense to have one marina,” he said.
One of his first moves as owner of the two sites was removing a row of telephone poles that were laid down as a barrier between the two properties. They are gone and Ernst and his employees can now freely move boats and equipment on the two properties.
Christopher started Four C’s with his wife Judy and their two sons, Darrick Christopher and David Cristofaro. The marina was the boys’ first job.
After working most of his adult life at Four C’s, David this spring took a full-time job as service manager for Shumway Marine in Irondequoit, the largest marina on the south shore of Lake Ontario. He spent weekends helping his father at Four C’s.
Judy Christopher was a strong presence at the marina for its first 29 years. She died from cancer at age 70 last Aug. 3. Gene credited his wife for doing so much for Four C’s, especially when he was juggling his full-time job before he retired about 15 years ago.
Gene said he values the many relationships he and his family made through the marina.
“I will personally miss all of the friends,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet thing.”