Operator of Belgrade boat enterprise suggests he can ‘finally run’ right after decades of controversy

BELGRADE — A plump red chicken waddled its way beneath the body of a 24-foot boat without the need of a care in the earth.

8 chickens, seven rescued greyhounds, workers, assets operator Shawn Grant and his family members reside amongst the innumerable boats Brightside Marine’s 12-acre property a stone’s throw from downtown Belgrade Village.

Shawn Grant on the docks July 16, 2018, at Brightside Marina, the enterprise he owns in Belgrade Lakes Village. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

The planet is prepared to go on from the coronavirus pandemic. Grant also is ready for modify, but for a incredibly distinctive explanation.

Embroiled in controversy about the use of his docks and assets with the town for the past number of decades, the 59-year-outdated Grant is now focused on expanding his Brightside Marine boat rental and restoration enterprise on Hulin Street.

“I can lastly run my enterprise,” Grant claimed previous week from driving his desk at the Marina. “I can at last do what I know how to do, and which is mature a small business.”

Building his way by means of the effectively-traveled gravel and grassy paths by means of a boat garden crammed with projects new and previous, Grant seems at peace. Putting on brown cargo shorts, flip-flops and a properly-worn company shirt, a wide grin surfaces when conversing about his perform. A 1947 Chris Craft is loaded in a a few-bay garage future to a 1964 Chris Craft which is just one of the premier purchaser tasks Grant has carried out. The boat arrived in full, but Grant and his crew disassembled it and are in the system of replacing 90% of the boat’s wooden.

Opened in 2008 as a picket boat repair organization under its official Brightside Wood Boat Expert services title, Brightside Maritime expanded to repairing fiberglass boats, rents boats, runs boat excursions, shops boats and repairs and sells digital motors. The restoration part of the organization, which can get up 1,500 hours per boat, accounts for amongst 85% and 90% of earnings, with the rest typically from rentals. Grant life on web site, and his residence is on each sides of Hulin Highway.

Grant filed a lawsuit in 2018 against the town pertaining to his residence and docks at the marina. The town gained the lawsuit, with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court docket ruling Grant could no for a longer time charge people to use the docks at his Good Pond Outlet Stream business. Grant also paid out a $20,000 wonderful.

“I’m tens of 1000’s of bucks lighter of wallet, but I’m continue to suitable below,” Grant said. “I come to feel no animosity when I stroll into Day’s Retail store.”

On any provided working day, there are upwards of a dozen undertaking boats in the back of the marina wherever he operates amongst 70-80 several hours a week. Grant and co. refurbish these boats to hire or offer, but their primary gig is restoring purchaser boats. The small business leases a house in Rome for inside storage. The business enterprise rents 10 boats in addition to restoration, which accounts for an believed 85-90% of earnings. The winter season months are put in mostly on restoration of customer’s boats and ones the enterprise owns, Grant’s “projects.”

His house extends guiding the properties on Hulin Street. Grant rents the property and garage up coming door to his for added storage, and new this summer season, two Brightside Maritime workforce stay there. To stroll by means of Grant’s property is to see a unusual kind of shop for the point out of Maine. Some of the boats glimpse completely ready to launch, though other people in close proximity to the again of his property need far more get the job done. Some of people have been there for a long time with an unclear completion timeline.

“Projects salvageable by our specifications,” Grant explained.


As part of the settlement arrangement with the town in July 2020 following a lawsuit involving Grant’s docks, Brightside Maritime was granted a business allow. Through a in some cases testy community hearing prior to a vote on the commercial permit software in March, neighbors spoke strongly each in guidance and versus Grant. The improve from dwelling occupation to industrial is the initially of two permitting changes, with Grant in the approach of acquiring a shoreland company zoning allow.

Cody Drever sands parts of a boat going through restoration Could 12 at Brightside Maritime in Belgrade. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Belgrade City Supervisor Anthony Wilson said Grant is in compliance with the city office and doing the job with the code enforcement team on the organization permitting.

“We have no issues,” Wilson said, “and if fears are lifted we will search into them.”

Grant reported he “gets along great” with most of his neighbors, and feels those people who spoke out from him for the duration of the March general public hearing have “an ulterior motive,” as there is a neighbor’s proper of way in in between the two pieces of his house.

But the very same neighbors who spoke in March continue to categorical issue about the problem 3 months afterwards. They get worried about assets benefit, lake high-quality and common neighborly interactions. They often explain Grant’s house as a “junkyard.”

Susan Terhune, who owns land on nearby Pink Oaks Lodge Street, is a person of them. Her father, Terry, also lives nearby all through the summers. Susan Terhune stays there in excess of the wintertime portion-time and it encompasses the proper of way.

“The way Shawn capabilities is just not neighborly,” Susan Terhune stated. “It makes for an uncomfortable dwelling ecosystem due to the fact if you want to go on a walk you have to go by his home.”

Stacey Richards, who life upcoming to the Terhunes through the summers, described the situation as “tense.”

“From an unbiased issue of see if you just look at the details, there are hundreds of individuals who have created letters but only a handful of people today are brave adequate to talk,” Richards explained. “Everything that you can do incorrect he has performed, but the town is continue to enabling this when there is this pushback from people.”

Cody Drever will get a measurement as he restores a boat at Brightside Marine in Belgrade on May well 12. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Terry Terhune, 91, expressed issue in the opportunity for commercial traffic by way of the household community. He needs the city to take more than the proper of way and is anxious his home benefit will diminish, but also stated he “wishes Grant all the achievements in the entire world in his business, but not in my distress.”

Ed Wurpel is also a seasonal resident on Purple Oaks Lodge Road and thinks Grant is next the regulation and undertaking what he’s intended to do.

“People want to handle assets they never individual, but it does not get the job done that way,” Wurpel said. “If you want to control assets, you have to invest in it. (Grant) is just making an attempt to make a living and individuals just really don’t like what he’s undertaking down there.”

Back TO Small business

Brightside Marina is unique in its business enterprise. There are plenty of boat rental businesses, but handful of that also focus in restoration of wood, metallic and fiberglass boats.

One particular of the modifications with the marina’s industrial permit is they can use far more workers. Grant has doubled his personnel from two to four, plus him, in latest months.

“The sky’s the restrict, in essence,” he said.

JT Stevens thinks about his upcoming cut May 12 throughout the restoration of a 1967 Chris Craft 18-foot boat at Brightside Marine in Belgrade on Could 12. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Just before opening Brightside Marine, Grant co-owned a logging tools dealership and a heavy devices dealership specializing in low effects forestry. When the pandemic impacted all industries, Grant’s small business went nearly unscathed.

Following a tricky spring, previous summertime was one of Brightside Marine’s busiest at any time. Help save for a struggle to find new boat stock, this summer time yet again designs up to be a occupied one.

“Balls out,” Grant reported. “It’s heading to be outrageous.”

Grant as soon as fearful about owning to move. Minimal revenues ended up lead to for worry about profitability. Now, it’s back to typical, form of.

“I’m continue to digesting it,” Grant mentioned. “When you battle the combat for four several years straight, you just get employed to the fight. I sense a great deal more peaceful.”

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