Superior Marine Service Takes Over Historic A&A Motel

GLENMOOR, Ohio – What once served as a respite for travelers along the historic Lincoln Highway will soon become part of a booming marine services business.

Since the 1940s, when State Route 11 didn’t exist and the only way to easily travel from Mahoning County to the Ohio River and points beyond was south on the Lincoln Highway, the A&A Motel was ready to welcome travelers at the junction of East Liverpool and Y&O routes.

The popular halt consisted of a number of small shacks lined up and a house that served as the owners’ office and home. In recent weeks, the most recent owner, Patrice Watkin, has reached an agreement to sell the iconic tourist site to Jason and Jessica Moore, owners of Superior Maritime Services16224 East Liverpool Road, who are planning to expand their five-year-old business onto the property which is right next to their business.

Watkin’s late husband Donald inherited the motel business from his uncle Frank Chetwyn who bought the property in the 1940s shortly after the cottages were built, according to Donald’s cousin David Mumaw.

“I remember going there in the late 40’s when it was really at its peak. The country was good; he had the potteries and the steelworks. Everything was booming. Lincoln was the main road. My aunt and uncle had regular customers,” Mumaw recalls.

Gallery images include construction work in progress at the site of the former A&A motel and the exterior of Superior Marine Services.

He said street vendors were plentiful, as were players heading to Waterford Race Track, now known as Mountaineer Gaming Resort in Newell, W.Va.

“It was quite a deal. My aunt took care of all the housework and became a mentor to me. I would go help him,” Mumaw recalled, saying he often cycled from his home in downtown East Liverpool to help out at the motel.

Mumaw said guests would eat at Hoge’s Restaurant, which is still in operation next door, and his aunt and uncle – who resided in the small house across from the row of cabins – could close part of their house allowing guests to stay when cabins are full.

“My mom and dad used to go out and play cards. They would have chairs all lined up outside the booths. (The guests) would be strangers, but before they left they would all be friends,” Mumaw said.

Mumaw eventually became an East Liverpool Police Officer and, after retirement, a City Court Bailiff. He couldn’t remember when the motel closed, but said guest numbers slowed in the 1960s when other businesses in the area began to falter. Shortly after, Route 11 was also completed, rerouting most of the heavy traffic that once congested the road past the A&A Motel.

Patrice Watkin said that although her husband retained ownership of the motel out of respect for his uncle, the cabins had deteriorated and were no longer viable for guests. After her husband’s death in 2020, Watkin contacted Moore who had expressed an interest in buying the property to expand his business and a deal was struck.

Last week, work began to demolish the cabins and begin preparing the property for Moore’s expansion.

Hailing from Hookstown, Pennsylvania, Moore grew up helping his father with mechanical work from the age of 13 and he said he ‘kind of fell into’ working on boats at age 19 when he saw a sign in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. advertisement for a marine engineer.

He knocked on the door and asked, “What’s that boat thing?”

After the shop owner opened up a boat motor to show him, Moore said, “Here’s what I know. I can do this forever.

After working there for a few years, during a quiet winter, Moore sold his boat and car and took a train to California where he remained for the next 15 years in the Marina Del Ray and Long Beach areas. , perfecting his marine mechanic. skills and learn from the experts.

“I went to California because I wanted to learn from the professionals. Here you learn as much as the guy in front of you. If you don’t know what’s new, you only know the old product,” he said. After meeting and marrying his wife Jessica – originally from Lorain, Ohio – in California, they returned to that area where he worked for his former boss with the idea of ​​taking over the store.

Jessica and Jason Moore, co-owners of Superior Marine Services.

When that didn’t work out, Moore decided to go out on his own, after seeing the success he had had in Pennsylvania. He considered locations in Beaver County and East Liverpool, but found the permitting and zoning process too strict. So he approached St. Clair Township officials, who he said “were the easiest to deal with,” and the company was launched in September 2017.

Within two years, Moore bought a property across the road to store boats he had shrink-wrapped for winter storage, and now, two years later, almost up on the date he buys this new property.

“I never imagined I could do this in five years, maybe 10 to 15, but not five,” he marveled, adding, “I knew in my gut that boats were coming from outside of this area”. I knew they were coming from Pittsburgh, Erie, Wheeling. We get them from everywhere. People walk past four or five different dealerships to get here.

“Our slogan is: ‘Your boat, our reputation.’ He has so much passion for his industry and compassion for his customers,” adds Jessica Moore. “He won’t put anything on a boat that’s not safe. He always does it like me and the kids are going to be on that boat.

Currently, Superior Marine Services is a full-service boat repair shop with repairs accounting for about 90% of its business, with a focus on boats dating from less than 1990, although Moore said he does exceptions.

A certified mechanic for Mercury, Volvo, Penta and Tohatsu engines, Moore is also waiting to become a Mercury dealer. Last year over 60 engines were sold with around a dozen sold already this year.

In addition, he and his crew, which includes his wife and three mechanics, shrink wrap an average of 300 boats a year, some of which are stored on site. The company also sells a variety of safety items, parts, accessories, fun items for boaters and other products.

The addition of the old motel will allow more boats to be stored, Moore said.

“I never even advertised boat storage (previously) because I had no more space. It will be like a five acre facility when we are done.

Plans include using the existing building strictly as a work center and constructing a second building on the new property for a showroom, possibly adding the sale of new boats to the company’s inventory.

With revenue of around $1.1 million in 2021, Moore is confident his business has taken off, but said, “If you treat people well, people treat you well.”

Reflecting on that day he saw the sign for a marine engineer, Moore said, “I was so lucky to drive by this place.”

Superior Marine Services can be reached at 330-708-5200 and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon, and closed Sunday.

Pictured above: The cabins on the site of the former A&A motel have since been razed to expand Superior Marine Services operations at the property.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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