A popular family-owned campground east of Monon, Ind., saw an era end and a new one begin earlier this summer.
Thrasher’s Woods – known for decades as a great place to camp, fish, swim and get a little closer to the outdoors – changed hands from Gene and Alene McKinley to Keith and Diane Grandchamp and their son Cory on July 3, according to the Monticello (Ind.) Herald Journal.
The McKinleys opened the campground in 1974.
The campground features a pool, stocked fishing lake, miniature golf course and a recreation hall. Over 34 years the campground evolved to its current state with 85 seasonal sites, 25 electric/water spots and a primitive area for camping.
The McKinleys weren’t anxious to sell Thrasher’s Woods, but realized that the time had come.
“We truly enjoyed every aspect of it,” said Alene McKinley. “Meeting new people – we made lifelong friends; it just became too much. We’re both in our late 70s, and it just became too much for us.
“So they (the Grandchamps) came along and made an offer, and we took it.”
As Keith Grandchamp, a DeMotte, Ind., resident, explained, their decision to purchase Thrasher’s Woods wasn’t an impulse and they didn’t just stumble across the property.
“We started camping here about three-and-a-half or four years ago; we had talked with Gene a little bit as the years went on, and I just mentioned the fact that if he was ever interested in selling to let me know,” Keith Grandchamp said. “Then he came around last year and said he was interested. So here we are today.”
The Grandchamps didn’t jump into the purchase without some experience, and spent the first half of 2008 helping Gene and Alene run Thrasher’s Woods to learn the ropes.
On July 3, the sale became final and the McKinleys handed over their keys to the Grandchamps, who formed a three-way ownership to run the campground as a family.
The new owners have some work planned, but the changes in the works will mostly involve expansion starting after 2008.
“We do plan on expanding to the other side of the lake; we have about eight acres that we want to expand and make more campground,” Keith Grandchamp explained.
“Right now there’s probably 140 sites; we’d like to up that to 20 or 30 within the next three years.”
More than anything, his family is looking forward to the experience and after a month have already found it to be good.
“I think the best part is the people here,” he asserted. “There’s a pretty good mix of people here, but yet when they’re all put together they all blend in so well and complement each other.
“It’s just a really nice campground; the people are good, the kids are really good, it’s just the whole atmosphere.”