CAMANCHE — Don Saiter has a passion for boats and for 12 years he fulfilled that passion by repairing them at the Fulton, Illinois marina.
Now, however, after the city of Fulton denied his request to purchase the building he conducted his business out of and the two could not agree on a reasonable lease contract, Saiter made the decision to vacate his business in Fulton and find a new home for D&K Marine.
That home is now located on Seventh Avenue in Camanche.
“I am excited to be in Camanche,” Saiter said. “It’s a nice little town with a lot of nice people and I know a lot of boaters out here already.”
Specializing in outboard and stern drives repairs, D&K Marine is a unique business in an area where boating is a heavy recreational activity. In the immediate Clinton and Camanche area, only one other boat repair shop exists and is located on the far north side of Clinton.
Saiter thinks that will be in his favor at his new location.
“Every year it has grown and I think now that we’re in Camanche, it’s going to grow even more,” he said. “I’m seeing new faces in the shop already.”
With that growth, Saiter is hoping to expand his newest business venture, which are custom-made boat covers.
He began making the covers about four years ago when he figured out that it would be cheaper for him to make one for his own boat instead of special ordering it from a company out of Dubuque.
Now he hopes that he can build a high demand for when the repair work slows in the winter months.
“I’m trying to expand all the time. When I started 12 years ago it was pretty much just boat repairs but I add a little more each year,” Saiter said. “In this line of business winters can be tough, sort of like feast or famine. I’m hoping that my canvas work can help supplement some of the income lost during those months.”