After 10 months of tears and fears over their dream, John Sarich and Eric Vohrer sealed the deal on the Blue Point Marina.
The two friends agonized over the bids, inspections and all the other steps involved in the multimillion-dollar deal from April 2021 through their Feb. 18 closing date. They said the unwavering encouragement from loved ones held them together throughout the year.
“Maria [Sarich] and Jen [Vohrer] were our lifeline throughout the whole process, our positive reinforcement,” Sarich, 64, said, refering to his and Vohrer’s wives.
“When we felt like we were going down, they brought us back up,” Vohrer, 46, said. “We would get upset, crying, they would pull us back up.”
The duo now look forward to the work cut out for them – and more importantly – the possibilities. They control 6.3 acres of waterfront property that they can invigorate into “a little shining star in the middle of Blue Point,” as Sarich put it.
For the family-focused men and new Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce members, the marina is more than the 132 boat slips they control. They envision their marina as a community hub. The pair created three picnic areas with tables and grills and plan to host an ice cream and sweet shop on their property next spring.
They also renovated their sprawling parking lot, a perfect area for the large crowds they hope to attract.
“We want to do festivals,” Sarich said. “We want to do a seafood festival, an Octoberfest, antique boat shows. We’ve been thinking about Santa Claus boat rides in December, maybe a chili contest, anything.
“We just want more community,” he continued. “We want to settle in, we want to make everybody feel like we’ve been here for 40 years.”
Inseparable friends and partners
In 2002, Vohrer opened his Midcoast Performance Marine mechanic shop at Morgan’s Swan River Marina. It was at Morgan’s where he and Sarich first met. With children about the same age who got along, and a love of boats, the two men and their wives became close friends.
Now, at the Blue Point Marina, Vohrer continues to set up his new Midcoast Performance Marine workshop, having hauled all his gear from Morgan’s. To design the shop, complete with a second-story storage rig, he enlisted the help of his lifelong friend and contractor, Louis Giancontieri, with whom he formed the Strictly Business racing team that competed until 2016.
Giancontieri recently passed away, and Vohrer plans to have a plaque dedicated to his friend in the workshop he designed.
While Vohrer handles mechanics, Sarich is the property management wiz. Over the past five months, both men put in the elbow grease necessary to rebuild docks, replace electrical and plumbing systems, paint, handle landscaping and construct a new office, where Vohrer displays a wealth of his racing trophies.
The friends turned business partners under their Blue Point Marina Operations are practically inseparable. On a rare day where they don’t talk much, one will apologize to the other.
“We talk to each other on the phone probably 10, 15 times a day,” Sarich said.
“We lean on each other,” Vohrer said. “Where I fall short, he helps me and vice versa.”
Three generations at work
Vohrer’s father, Tom Vohrer, works part time at the Blue Point marina, where among other tasks, he repaired the stanchion lights at every boat slip.
The father is proud his son has a marina to call his own, and recalled his boy’s drive at a young age.
“Every Saturday morning I worked at the yacht club,” Tom Vohrer said. “I’d be in bed, open my eyes and there’s Eric staring me in the face saying, ‘Dad, we got to get down to the yacht club.’ He used to carry a spackle bucket and wax boats. One day we were going for lunch, he pulled out a wad of cash… he was always a hustler.”
If Eric Vohrer and Sarich’s wives supported them through the rigmarole of securing the marina, their children encourage them to ensure it succeeds.
“Our kids love being around boats,” Eric Vohrer said. “If we’re not here, then we get on our own boats and we go to Davis Park for the weekend.”
Ranging in age from 9 to 16, their children exude a penchant for marine life. They are also quite involved in what has become their families’ business.
Juliana Sarich farms oysters at the marina and plans to join the coast guard, while John Franco Sarich mans the marina’s gas pump. James Vohrer performs oil changes on boats, while Emmie Vohrer and Jack Vohrer ask their dad work questions over dinner.
“We have a plan,” Sarich said. “We see what’s going to happen in 10 years, we see our kids coming up the ranks. That’s what it’s all about, what you’re going to leave your kids.”
Feature photo: Eric Vohrer and John Sarich in front of their boats at the Blue Point Marina.