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Gilboa Quarry Changing Hands

Discussion in 'Great Lakes Wrecking Crew' started by JimBlay, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    The worst thing about Gilboa under Mike was deferred maintenance. I remember seeing docks in the past with orange traffic cones over holes. The Stairs of Death were rickety and I was always afraid of falling.

    I think Mike cared more for his mangy cats that wandered the place than the divers.

    I’m told the new owners will accept debit/credit cards now for payment. No more cash/checks only.
  2. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    I'll call Columbus Scuba when they open today at noon. I have an annual membership to Gilboa and frequently solo dive there so I'm interested that both are honored. Mike has been running this facility for two decades. He made tremendous improvements to it from what it was when he bought it. He's added numerous attractions underwater, cultivated and protected the resident rainbow trout population, and had added the best system of surface and underwater training platforms I've seen at any facility.

    Congratulations to Mike for selling it and being able to move on. I was there last week and he was very hopeful about a sale.

    The criticism of Mike comes from two sources. First, the Gilboa area is the among the most conservative in Ohio and still holds values common a century ago. Values that are different than those of Columbus, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, or Chicago. Mike reflects that. Second, Gilboa like scuba diving in general has a tendency to attract people with big egos that get them into trouble. Knowing how many incidents Mike has had to deal with over the years including some very sad recoveries, his cranky behavior toward cowboy attitudes is more than warranted. His pricing is fair. His solo diving policy is generous. And he's been very supportive of responsible scuba instructors over the years.
    Notso_Ken, Nanodiver and JimBlay like this.
  3. JimBlay

    JimBlay Divin' Papaw ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
    All of that is true and absolutely warranted. Unfortunately he stopped dealing with much needed maintenance about 6-7 years ago roughly (maybe even longer) and the place never recovered. My guess is that it stemmed from his divorce from Jodie and her no longer being involved with helping to run the place. But it is a fantastic Midwest dive site and I hope to see it return to its former glory.
  4. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    The bathhouse definitely needs some updating. There are a few loose boards on the decks. And a lot of the items on the surface that were likely intended to go underwater either need to be sunk or removed. It will be interesting to see if Columbus Scuba can bring Gilboa Quarry up to Ginnie Spring/Blue Grotto standards.
    JimBlay likes this.
  5. MiloR

    MiloR ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ohio
    I just want to reiterate that Columbus Scuba is Columbus Scuba and Gilboa Quarry is Gilboa Quarry.
    Separate Businesses that happen to have 1 individual in common.
    Lot's of things discussed regarding desired changes/improvements but nothing set in stone with no concrete timetable.
    Be patient and take any rumors about changes you hear possibly happening as what they are until they actually happen.
    One of the biggest challenges to improving the customer experience is the lack of good internet access to the area. The 2nd is getting through the red tape of having things meet local code. Neither are easy to overcome in a short period.
    I say all of this because there is a big desire by the new owner to have a 1st class facility but getting there is work.
    It should not, and does not, reflect on what he has built at a fabulous Dive shop in Cbus.
    People are typically impatient and I hope they will have the proper/realistic expectations. The list is large and it will take a bit to prioritize and check things off.

    Let's be honest...it can't get worse. The next couple years will be fun to watch as things get better and better.
    JimBlay likes this.
  6. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    The new owner of Gilboa Quarry replied to my email tonight. Here's the summary...

    1. Andy Silverman, the owner of Columbus Scuba is an operating partner in a company that just purchased Gilboa. However Columbus Scuba doesn't own Gilboa.
    2. The new owners will recognize existing 2021 annual memberships.
    3. The new owners will permit solo diving per the existing rule (solo certification needed).
    4. In 4-6 weeks, there will be an online registration process where divers will be able to upload relevant certs: Solo, Nitrox, Deep.
    5. Liability waivers will be signed once per year.

    I look forward to diving with the new owner. Thanks again to Mike for all the work he has put into Gilboa over the past 20+ years, particularly the airplane, trout, and all the training platforms. It's been a great place to do open water certifications, test new gear, and practice technical diving skills. It's one of the few places this far north that either doesn't freeze over or only freezes for a few weeks. Now, let's hope for an improved check-in process, a refurbished bathhouse, replacement of some entry decking, perhaps hot food & coffee on weekends, a self air fill station if liability allows for it, and some nicer landscaping. Cheers to Gilboa's next chapter!
    primitivepaddler and JimBlay like this.
  7. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    No he's just an ass. He got a lot worse in the last several years. Quite frankly the only reason why he got to act the way he did and keep things going was because he was the only "whore" in town. Finding a deep quarry with clear water with access is quite difficult. I've been fortunate enough to find a replacement much closer to Detroit than Gilboa.
  8. JimBlay

    JimBlay Divin' Papaw ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
    Andy Silverman, the owner of Columbus Scuba, just posted this on Facebook:

    On Tuesday, April 13, Full Tank LLC purchased Gilboa Quarry. We are very excited about this acquisition. Especially through these times where people, in general, are so anxious to get out and spend time “outdoors”.

    We thank the previous owner Mike Williams for bringing Gilboa to where it is today. For 20 years Gilboa provided a facility for divers in the Midwest a place to dive uncannily clear water with submerged attractions, spacious decks along the water, and beautiful fish. Gilboa has become a staple name in diving for those that dive in the midwest.

    We wish Mike a life of happiness pursuing his passions of riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle out west, building his “hotrod” car, continuing to beautify his home in Ottawa, and spend quality time with his family and church. Mike has graciously offered assistance to Full Tank with getting up and running most efficiently.

    There will be a myriad of changes to come with this acquisition to include: State of the art Nitrox System and additional compressor and 6000psi bank system. We are also adding a swimming beach this summer. We hope this will allow for divers to bring their family and friends that may not already be divers to enjoys weekends with their families.

    Improvements to the bathhouse are to be expected along with outdoor showers to warm, cool, or rinse off. An additional staging area (lower field) for divers much closer to the parking lot is being cleared as I am writing this which should make egress and entry far easier for those that aren’t camping along the shallow side of the property.

    A dive shop that will provide “knick-knack” type diving items will be implemented. While we believe it is important for all divers to continue to utilize their local dive center for more involved equipment, it is often that a diver needs and snorkel keeper, bottle of defog or forgotten flashlight for a night dive. Those smaller types of items will soon be available.

    A registration system to include online release signing, account building, and most importantly, time saving is in the late stages of development. Expect to see this implemented no later than June 1. Guests will be able to charge air/nitrox fills, camping, even a candy bar to a pre-set account on a bar code imprinted on their wrist band.

    In the longer term, we plan to add more Camper and RV space in the field east of the quarry across the bridge which would include a new and appropriately sized bathhouse. Expect to see more parking available where current campers and RV set currently.

    While this is an abbreviated version of the list of things to come, I’ve listened for many years to the requests of the dive community and while nothing is ever perfect for everyone, I’ve shared these ideas and concerns with my partners at Full Tank, LLC It is our intention to continue to build Gilboa and take it to the next level. It is in our best interest to help both the divers and instructors utilizing Gilboa Quarry be successful. We are VERY excited and look forward to building the culture and community of diving in this region.

    Thank you all for your continued support and patience as we make these transitions. We can’t wait to meet you and even more so, dive with you!

    Andy Silverman
    Operating Partner, Full Tank, LLC (dba Gilboa Quarry)
  9. MrVegas

    MrVegas Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ohio
    This is awesome. Have had great experiences with Columbus Scuba, and have enjoyed diving at Gilboa. Looking forward to the future.
    JimBlay likes this.
  10. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    Starlink, satellite internet that doesn't suck.
    BrackaFish likes this.

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