Ship Store

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    What is going on at the Ship Store? Looks like the girls there Tony and Norma are being let go and Hugh was fired or resigned. Now the place is leased to members of the Fin and Feather who are supposed to turn it into a “Mini Yacht Club”. It seems like the Fin and Feather are just taking over the whole place for themselves. This is a shame and the POA should never have let them do the remodeling on the large room but did it themselves. Now they have an insight into the place and consider it their own. Every Tuesday there is a poker game there and money is exchanged and eventually someone will get angry and call the police. You know who will then have to take the heat for it..the POA of course. Maybe that is what it will take to wake up the Board is to have an illegal gambling raid happen and throw the Board in jail with the rest of them. Looks like private politics at its worse in Diamondhead is alive and well.



    To the person or persons who wrote about the Ship Store. The Fin and Feather was responsible for adding the large room onto the Ship Store using their own labor. Also, the Fin and Feather built the gazeebo, again using their own labor. The POA gets all the rental fees for the room and the gazeebo. All the Fin and Feather asks for is to use them for their functions once a month. The men who play poker on tues are adults and conduct themselves accordingly. Their poker game is no different than the football, basketball and golf pools you find not only at the Country Club but also at the Ship Store. The Ship Store is a great place for people to gather and have a cocktail, play poker, have cookouts and just share in fellowship.



    The bid for the lease of the Ship Store has nothing to do with Fin ‘n’ Feather, which is a social club. The person applying for a lease is only a member of Fin ‘n’ Feather. The club has had no discussion, official or unofficial, about the lease. Speaking for the Board of Directors and as Chairman of Fin ‘n’ Feather, we have had no discussion or conversation about the lease of the Ship Store. We do not want to take over the Ship Store or turn it into a “mini Yacht Club.”

    It is our understanding that the Diamondhead POA Board of Directors has not approved any new leasing of any facilities, including the Ship Store and Marina.

    The Ship Store has been referred to in a recent POA news article as a “Cheers” — I would call it more liken to a “Duffy’s Tavern”!


    Chairman, Fin ‘n’ Feather



    why wasn’t the ship store put out for public bid. seems kind of coincedental that someone from fin &feather is the frontrunner to lease the marina. isn’t thurman aka (thurston howell)williams belong to fin &feather ? you have two good girls that keeps people coming back (tony&norma) and one that doesn’t belong there. the marina belongs to the homeowners and does not need to be leased out. if we had compentent mang’mt they could hire the right mgr. the store is a viable moneymaker.



    I think it should be out for the public to get a chance for the lease.Then they could stay open the hours they wanted.


    Rod Willer

    This is a difficult article to write since writing it will bring back many unpleasant memories. I do feel that I am eminently qualified to speak on the Ship Store and the relationship of the Fin and Feather Club to the Ship Store. I was the last lessee of the Ship Store. The last time the Ship Store and Marina was leased out an announcement was placed in the Diamondhead News and bids were solicited from all interested parties. I seem to recall that three or four people bid for the lease.

    Much has been made by members of the Fin and Feather Club that they remodeled the Luana Room. It should be made quite clear that they provided the labor and the POA provided the materials. I would estimate that the labor to do the remodeling (by a company) would have run approximately $4,000. They may disagree with this estimate but one must remember that essentially all they did was to put in the walls, ceiling and windows. For this they expected free use of the room forever. (It is interesting that some of the members who are the most vocal about the free rent did not help in the remodeling) There was a clause in my lease that stated that they would be able to use the room rent free. Usually, when a civic organization makes a donation of time or money they do not put such strings on the donation. This is equivalent to the Rotary Club helping build a new wing on a hospital and expecting free medical care for their members. But, in fact, they not only wanted free rent, they also wanted to be able to bring their own mixers, beer, ice and snacks. They also expected that the lessee would clean the place up the next day. Fifty men can create quite a mess in five hours. One of my first negative impressions of The Fin and Feather Club was when I discovered, shortly after taking over on April 1, 2000, a maggot infested garbage container full of left over food from the March meeting of the Club. This was one of the most disgusting items I ever had to clean. The next month, they threw some of their left over food out on the lawn because” they thought the birds would clean it up”.
    As a person trying to run a business and make a living it was quite insulting and hurtful. Even more disturbing was the rumor campaign they started around the community about my wife and me.
    It should be made clear that I do not want to put every member of the Fin and Feather Club under this umbrella. There are many fine members such as Bill Robbins, Ken Frank and Dick Cook among others who were not happy with the actions of the few. Like all organizations it only takes a few very self centered power hungry people like Dick “Tater” Weber, Bill Powers, Curtis Cook and Jim Hunt to taint the organization. Unfortunately for Diamondhead, these are some of the more “powerful” men in Diamondhead.

    They have hired and fired four managers at the Ship Store in about 2 years. This reminds me of the Richard Scrushy story. When will the people of Diamondhead wake up and elect a competent board?

    Rod Willer



    I’m not familiar with “who’s who” in Diamondhead. I’m simply a dues paying member who happens on occasion to use one of the amenities here in Diamondhead-that being the boat launch.

    It is my understanding that whoever runs the ship store is deemed the harbor master. I don’t know if winning the bid to run the store makes someone qualified to be a harbor master but maybe that is part of the bidding process. Maybe someone can enlighten me. Though all the discussion here seems to be about the ship store, I think a big point here is being ignored. What are the required duties as harbor master? On many occasions the dock and ramp have been nearly unusable and/or unsafe due to debris. I have never seen anyone monitoring who is launching from the boat launch. There is supposedly a small fee for non-residents using this private launch (as well as using our parking spaces), but non-residents use these facilities that my dues maintain free of charge. I have never witnessed anyone interested in paying or collecting these fees. Walk the parking lot and look at the license plates on the trucks and trailers, you’ll see many out of state tags or tags from other counties. Clearly they are not residents. Many who use the ramp seem ignorant of the common courtesies it requires to keep boats getting in and out of the water, and block up the ramp and dock causing long lines to form. I would think this sort of situation might be something requiring the attention of the harbor master. Since the harbor master has no way to view the ramp from the building and since he is concerned with running a bar and grill, I doubt anyone in the ship store ever knew anything going on outside.

    This past July 4th weekend, I was sitting at a table on the deck of the Yacht Club which overlooked the boat lauch. The dock and ramp was covered with debris. I watched as boats were attempting to be lauched and as the vehicles slid toward the water. The ramp was so slick that the vehicles couldn’t even pull up the empty trailers without the wheels spinning, and the vehicles were unable to get up the ramp. You can imagine how much worse it was when someone was attempting to pull a trailer loaded with a boat. I watched trucks sliding backwards, wheels locked, just sliding down the ramp. On more than one occasion a truck had to tow another truck with the boat and trailer behind it to get it up the ramp. This spectacle was the source of much amusement and onlookers cheered when some poor hapless boater finally managed to get his boat and vehicle safely off the ramp. It was less amusing to the boaters.

    I’m not sure how it all works, how the harbor master/ship store manager earns his money. If he gets most of his revenue at the bar and grill, I suppose that will be his main concern. Maybe we just pretend to have a harbor master, and maybe the POA should be the point of contact when it comes to the Marina.

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