To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Lake City Floats continues legacy business

By Susan Mustapich | Apr 19, 2021
Ibby and Toby Wincklhofer, of Lake City Float Service, with daughters Ella, front row, and Winne, bought the float business formerly owned by Monroe and Goodwin in April 2020. They recently purchased the large barns at 255 Molyneaux Road, where they build floats, and will be offering rental space.

CAMDEN — Lake City Floats is into their busy seasons when floats go back into Lake Megunticook, the river, and ponds around the area.

It is also the first anniversary as owners of the company for Ibby and Toby Wincklholfer, who purchased the legacy business in April 2020.

Last year, when the pandemic had just begun, "everyone wanted their floats in. A lot of people were here from the city, early," Ibby said. "Most of the camps were full, where they are usually not full until July, so we got going as quickly as we could."

The season starts as soon as the ice is out of the lake. This year, they started at the end of March, which is really early, she said.

Lake City is continuing the tradition started by the original owners, Monroe and Goodwin Contractors. They engineer and build a heavy and long-lasting wooden float, which is stable when you walk on it, Toby explained. They also service and repair existing float systems, put floats in the water in the spring, and take them out and store them in the fall.

A medium-size float typically has four to five pieces, a ramp, a jumper float, another ramp and then your main float, which is usually two pieces, Toby said. "The configurations can be whatever you want. There are a lot of different styles out there." Two of the big systems they service have about 20 pieces each.

The company is environmentally conscious, building floats from western red cedar, with pressure-treated framing, Toby said.

A town ordinance requiring all flotation to be encapsulated by 2022 is also keeping Lake City busy.

"Now everything has gone to getting rid of the blue Styrofoam, which leaves pieces all over the lake, so all the floatation is enclosed in black tubs," he explained.

The floats and ramps are also built to be transported to and from the water in one piece and are rugged enough to be stacked and stored during the off-season.

Lake City stores the floats on a property they own across the road from the Bog Bridge boat launch on Route 105. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the property is leased to the town of Camden for parking.

Toby has been on the water most of his life. He has fished lobster for 25 years out of Camden in his boat Gladys Winck and is also a diver. He has a background in marine construction and worked for Prock Marine. He has three employees, one who has been working for the business for decades. Ibby manages the business office, and is really good at dealing with people, Toby said,

The couple has also recently bought the property and barns at 255 Molyneaux Road, where builder Sonny Goodwin operated his business.

The float business fills the ground floor in one part of the heated barn, and they are looking into renting the other spaces, which include another ground-floor shop, and upper floors spaces.

Both are interested in the history of the barns, which were built by the Bok family. The structure is very straight and true, the foundation walls are 3-feet thick at the bottom and the upper-floor spaces are beautifully finished, Toby said.

When they bought the float business, they went back into the history of vacationing on Lake Megunticook for their business name. It comes from the Lake City Settlement, which was built along Beaucaire Ave. in the late 1890s and early 1900s. At the time, the road was called Lake City Drive. There were roughly 300 people in the settlement back when there weren't many people here, and land was traded mostly by rich people playing poker, Toby said.

The couple also values the legacy Sonny Goodwin created. Through their family members, people in the community and from the Goodwin family, Ibby and Toby know he was the biggest builder in Camden for decades — a good man, who was very community-oriented, liked to help people and was generous. They have heard Goodwin raised rabbits in the barn and gave them away to people who could use the food.

Toby is very happy they are owners of the Molyneaux Road property now, and to know they are keeping the float business going.

"I feel like Sonny would be happy that we took it over. It’s not changing, it's just a mom-and-pop operation," he said. Nothing is mass manufactured, Ibby said, and we are very lucky to have great employees.

For more information, visit lakecityfloats.com, call 691-1400 or email lakecityfloats@yahoo.com.

Toby Wincklhofer, co-owner of Lake City Float Service in Camden, constructs wooden floats that are designed to be picked up and transported. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Wincklhofer's purchased the heated barns at 55 Molyneaux, where they build floats on the ground floor and have finished spaces to rent out. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at knox.villagesoup.com/join.
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at knox.villagesoup.com/donate.
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.
Note: If you signed up using our new subscriber portal, your username is the email address you registered with and your password is in all caps