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Salmon Arm family, including pet dog, take ownership of iconic floating Shuswap eatery

Ian and Holly Gray reopening the Shark Shack in June
Ian and Holly Gray of Salmon Arm are the new owners of the Shark Shack, set to reopen on June 17. (The Shark Shack/Facebook photo)

The Shuswap’s one and only Shark Shack has new owners.

A recent post shared on Facebook announced the distinctive yellow floating restaurant will reopen on June 17 under new ownership – Ian, wife Holly and George Gray.

Ian Gray, of Ian Gray’s Salmon Arm GM, said he will be spending a lot of time this summer at the Shark Shack. “Co-owner” George, the Grays’ Great Dane, not so much.

“He won’t be joining us officially, but he’ll be happy to know that he’s part of the action,” laughed Ian, explaining the post started courtesy of Old Town Bay manager Colleen Anderson.

“She sees us on weekends with our boat and our oversized boat dog, George, so she said, ‘Can I say that Ian and Holly and George Gray are the new owners?’ And of course we said, ‘For sure!’”

The Grays purchased the Shark Shack in February from longtime owner Geoff Lightle.

“Geoff and his family have been involved with the Shark Shack from day one… and they were just looking for a change…,” said Ian, explaining Lightle was looking for someone who understood the atmosphere they were trying to create with the Shark Shack – something the Grays came to know after moving to the Shuswap nine years ago.

“We love boating and we ran into the Shark Shack multiple times and realized it was a pretty iconic place to go,” said Ian. “It was definitely a once or twice a season visit, for sure, just to say you’ve gone, especially if you’re taking visitors from outside the area.”

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Last year, when the Grays found out the Shark Shack was for sale, they contacted Lightle.

“We worked with them for a few months and we ended up purchasing it from them in February,” said Ian.

When it reopens in June there will be some familiar faces at the Shark Shack, including the kitchen and restaurant managers, and some new ones, as well as the Grays, who’ll be spending weekends there and dropping in on Wednesdays, “because we like to be hands-on people.”

“We’re brand new to the business,” said Ian. “We’ve been in the people business for 30-plus years and we don’t want to go in there and make any radical changes to what’s already successful and what people have come to expect when they get there. Like any business that gets bought out, we’ll want to, over time, put our twist on it and hopefully make it even a greater place to come and visit and make memories.”

The Grays visited the Shark Shack on Sunday, April 24 – their first time since looking as prospective buyers in August.

“It was surreal to stand on that and go, wow, we’re going to be part of something that thousands of people have come to and enjoyed, and so we think it’s a huge responsibility and a huge honour to carry on the tradition of having this floating restaurant on Shuswap Lake,” said Ian.

Known in town for his Salmon Arm GM slogan, “When you treat people right, word gets around,” Ian already has a slogan ready for the Shark Shack.

“We’re just super excited to have everybody come out and have a great time, make some memories,” said Ian. “As we’re saying, ‘Come take a bite out of life at the Shark Shack.’”

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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