JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2022) – Ben Arnold, an East Tennessee State University Innovation Lab member, recently finalized the purchase of Cove Ridge Marina and Campground in Butler, Tennessee.
In August of 2021 his group, Cove Ridge Holdings, LLC, finalized the purchase of Cove Ridge Marina and Campground located on Watauga Lake. Arnold said their plans for 2022 include adding pontoon and kayak rentals, adding additional covered slips, hosting a variety of events including live music, food trucks, wine and beer tastings, and much more.
“The ETSU Innovation Lab has been a critical piece of our success,” Arnold said. “The lab provided us with great networking opportunities and professional meeting spaces, where we were able to meet with investors and business partners that helped us with the purchase of Cove Ridge Marina. We are grateful for the support from Audrey Depelteau, Liz Bennett and the ETSU Innovation Lab.”
The ETSU Innovation Lab is a high-tech business incubator that assists aspiring entrepreneurs from concept through commercialization.
“The purchase of Cove Ridge Marina and Campground in Butler, Tennessee in 2021 by ETSU Innovation Lab member, Ben Arnold, who is also a graduate of ETSU, is a testament to his tenacity and entrepreneurship and this facility is the perfect landing spot for Ben to grow Connect Outdoors even further,” said Dr. Audrey Depelteau, director of the Innovation Lab. “One of the objectives of the Innovation Lab is to promote, stimulate and support economic development throughout the region, and this is a perfect example of the impact that our members have in the Appalachian Highlands.”
Arnold is also the founder of Connect Outdoors, a company combining emerging technology with a love for the wilderness. Connect Outdoors was formed in 2019 and is headquartered at the ETSU Innovation Lab. Arnold is also planning on a members-only fishing tournament at the marina using the Connect Outdoors platform as well as sponsoring the Connect Fishing League 2022 National Championship this October.
“It has been great to see Connect Outdoors branch out from their technology base into owning this beautiful property that fits so well with their business model,” said Innovation Lab Assistant Director Liz Bennett. “We are extremely excited to see what Arnold and his group can do with this amazing property.”
The 70-acre Cove Ridge Marina and Campground complex has a variety of boat slips as well as RV and trailer sites with room to grow. The marina offers covered and uncovered slips, fuel sales, RV site rentals, an on-the-water deli/grill, indoor and outdoor dry storage as well as outdoor fenced trailer and boat storage. Cove Ridge is a private, family-friendly marina with storage options for ski-boats, pontoons, sailboats or jet skis. The campground provides scenic views of the lake and mountains.
Connect Outdoors is dedicated to providing tools that bring people together outdoors. Their products are focused on the sport fishing industry and creating tools for recreational and tournament anglers to make fishing experiences more efficient and enjoyable. Connect Outdoors, Inc was formed in April 2019 and acquired the assets of its predecessor ConnectScale, which started in 2015 and created a first of its kind Bluetooth scale for the fishing industry.