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Summerset Acquires Death’s Door Marine, Port A Pier Site

Summerset Marine Construction acquired Death’s Door Marine, a marine service provider based in Sturgeon Bay, effective May 17. 

Through the acquisition, Summerset gained operators, equipment and more than 30 years of know-how by bringing longtime Death’s Door owner Mike Kahr into the business.

“He will continue to play a vital role in the new entity, Summerset Marine Construction – Door County, ensuring that both current and future customers receive the same outstanding customer service and personal touch that have been the hallmark of Death’s Door Marine,” said Mike Rather, Summerset Vice President of Sales.  

Death’s Door Marine has become a subsidiary of Summerset, and will be based in Brussels. Summerset also acquired the former Port A Pier facility along state Highway 57 at 9580 Rica Lane in Brussels.

Summerset, headquartered in Whitewater, employs more than 100 people in south-central Wisconsin and has branch offices in Madison and Green Lake. Rather said Summerset has been a leader in pier installation and repair, and owner Larry Chapman has more than 30 years of experience in the pier industry. Summerset will add office staff and at least two employees at the Brussels site “right out of the gate,” Rather said. 

Rather said Chapman has property in Door County and became familiar with Kahr’s capabilities through the years. The acquisition gives Summerset Marine a presence in Door County and allows the company’s further expansion into heavy construction in the marine industry. 

Rather said Summerset builds barges and also has welders to help with Door County projects. 

Kahr said the deal takes barge-construction, bookkeeping, marketing and a lot of management minutia out of his hands and will allow him to meet high demand for work. He said he also will have access to Summerset staff or assistance with hiring.

Kahr said he looks forward to focusing on engineering and planning for projects that provide long-term solutions and help people enjoy the waters around Door County.

Rather said the acquisition will take Summerset’s business to another level, and Kahr can help Summerset with projects elsewhere in the state.

“There’s definitely not a shortage of work in Door County,” Rather said.