Situated on the Lake Erie shoreline in Port Clinton, Ohio, Catawba Island Club (CIC) is one of the finest private resorts on the Great Lakes—an unexpected escape in the quiet, Midwestern town. The original Catawba Cliffs Beach Club was constructed in the 1920s as a family-oriented, private resort facility. Today, it offers members a complete menu of hospitality services, including hotel, bar and restaurant, marina, golf course, and private event planning. The club’s chairman and CEO, Jim Stouffer, began working at Catawba at just 13 years old, and now carries on the 90-year tradition with the next generation of family operators by his side.
Storms can stir up quickly on the Great Lakes, with 25-foot waves and more than 50mph winds. Stouffer was looking for higher performing shade structures, not only to shield members from the heat, but to endure many seasons next to the lake. “I got tired of replacing umbrellas every year because they broke or stopped working halfway through the season. We needed something strong and stout.”
Growing up on the water, Stouffer is no stranger to marine grade engineering. When he learned of Tuuci® and scheduled a factory tour, he immediately recognized the quality and craftsmanship of Tuuci parasols. “It was very impressive,” Stouffer said. “I view them as structures, not throwaway or disposable umbrellas. These are equal to or exceed any structure I’ve seen.” The team had looked at products from another manufacturer that he knew would be strong, but they had a much more rugged aesthetic, almost institutional. Tuuci met their needs for both durability and design.
Stouffer says he was like a kid in a candy store going through Tuuci’s vast design selection. Using a combination of different styles and colors, the CIC team was able to create both comfort and visual interest, even from a distance. “Those umbrellas just pop when you come around the corner, almost like a beacon to the club. Visually, they complement and balance out the Mediterranean style of the hotel, like the tie that pulls a suit together.”
Of all the parasol installations at CIC, the pier stands out as Jim’s favorite. “The space was basically unusable before,” said Stouffer. “We took a setting and turned it into something that draws you in and makes you say ‘I want to sit out there.’ When you’re standing on the pier and look back toward the pool, you forget that you’re even in Ohio. Transforming the pier with a railing system, some Adirondack chairs, and Tuuci parasols, is one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had in working with our clientele.”
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