ROACH – Straightway Holdings Inc. (SHI), a subsidiary of the Missouri Baptist Foundation (MBF) and owner of the Windermere Baptist Conference Center since 2019, announced today (March 1) that Windermere will be closed during March and April as it looks to the campground’s future – a future that may include the eventual sale of the campground.
The announcement came after SHI received notice from the lessee/camp operator, Arukah Cove, Inc. (ACI), that it would cease operations at the campground as of Feb. 28.
In a written statement, the ACI board said, “Due to the financial hardships caused by COVID-19 during 2020, and continued uncertainty concerning future operations due to COVID-19 in 2021, along with the unpredictability regarding future government restrictions, ACI regretfully informs SHI it has exhausted all options, declared itself financially insolvent, and is ceasing operations effective February 28, 2021.”
Neil Franks, president of SHI, said, “ACI started their ministry and were hit with COVID-19 within 60 days of starting. No one could have predicted the length or impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant, lodging and camping industries. After twelve months into the pandemic, there is still no clear end in sight. We are grateful to the staff and the board of ACI who worked tirelessly to keep ministry running during this unprecedented time. We grieve with the ACI staff and board in this unfortunate end.”
The Future of Windermere
Straightway Holdings Inc. (SHI) assumed operations of Windermere, March 1.
The camp will be closed for the months of March and April to make the dining hall repairs from the fire in December and the ice storm damage from February. Plans are now underway to determine what limited camp and retreat offerings will be open for this summer. More information will be published on the campground’s new website in the next few weeks (www.MidMoRetreat.com).
“SHI is in negotiations with a vibrant and growing ministry here in Missouri that is interested in eventually purchasing the entire camp for ministry,” a press release from SHI stated. “While this plan will likely involve phases, we are very pleased that ministry will continue each month this year despite the challenges and setbacks recently incurred.”
The press release added, “During the month of February, in the midst of all of the challenges, 43 people professed Christ as their Savior and many more people rededicated their lives to Jesus!
“We firmly believe that God is still at work to accomplish His purposes at this special place. Please continue to pray and support the camp.”
More details on opportunities to give, serve and use the camp this summer will be available in the coming weeks on the camp’s website (www.MidMoRetreat.com).
FAQ from Straightway Holdings Inc.:
Q: What does this announcement mean to organizations that have deposits on file with ACI for reservations or vendors that ACI owes money to?
A: Currently ACI has no funds and no assets remaining, which means all creditors as of February 28, 2021 will not be paid.
Q: Who will run the camp going forward?
A: Straightway Holdings Inc owns the camp and is currently making plans to offer limited ministry opportunities at the camp along with working with the ministry partner who is wanting to buy the camp.
Q: Is the camp going to be sold?
A: SHI is currently working with a ministry who wants to purchase the camp and/or a portion of the camp. Unless or until that ministry is able to buy the entire camp, the portions of the camp that are not under contract will be listed with a national real estate broker, but ministry in various forms will continue.
Q: Who do we call if we have questions?
A: If you have questions related to the camp prior to SHI owning it on Dec 9th, 2019 , the prior owner should be contacted.
If you have questions about the camp from January 1, 2020 – Feb 28th 2021, ACI would be the organization to contact at:aciquestions@Yahoo.com.
For questions from March 1, 2021 forward, SHI will be operating the camp under a new DBA: Mid-Missouri Retreat and Conference Center with their email address of: info@MidMoRetreat.com.
Q: What will Mid-Missouri Retreat and Conference Center offer this year?
A: The camp will be closed in March and April to get it ready for the summer season. In the next couple of weeks, the new operating team will determine what types and sizes of camps will be offered.
Q: What is the best way to keep up with how things are progressing at the camp?
A: The camp’s website www.MidMoRetreat.com will be the primary communication tool used to keep people informed.