Passing the torch: 75-year-old Cloud 9 Resort gets new owners

Pictured to the left are new owners of Cloud 9 Resort Troy and J.D. Lash, and to the right are previous owners John and Rhonda Bueter

Pictured to the left are new owners of Cloud 9 Resort Troy and J.D. Lash, and to the right are previous owners John and Rhonda Bueter

Star photo/Shanna Avery

BALDWIN — When signing over the Cloud 9 Resort to new owners Monday, Rhonda Bueter reflected on the past 25 years of owning the business, and although signing it over was an emotional experience, she and her husband, John Beuter, know it is now in great hands with Troy and J.D. Lash. 

The resort itself dates back to 1947, and 30 years later, Rhonda and her then husband, Steven Sheldon, bought it in August of 1997.

"That's why I waited until today, so I can say I've had it for 25 years," Rhonda said. "August was when I bought it, so I thought this would be the perfect day. It was bitter-sweet, but I'm very happy. We picked them special (Troy and J.D.). She's a customer, and we like them, a lot. We're happy. It's a new stage in our life."

With starting a new business up here after retiring from working full time in Hillsdale, Troy and J.D. are happy to pick up the reigns and yet, have the Bueters just two miles away. 

"You can't get rid of us," John teased, saying although they are selling the resort business, they have a couple things up their sleeves, but not as intensive as running the resort. 

The dream of owning the Cloud 9 has been over a year in making for Troy and J.D.

"During Blessing of the Bikes last year, we heard they were selling, and they were not far from where we stayed, so we made the decision to contact these guys about it," Troy said. 

J.D. and Troy both agree one of the best things about buying the business is meeting all the people. 

"We've met a lot of great people here," J.D. said. "We're not going to change anything, we love it." 

Being avid outdoors people, the couple knows this is the perfect fit. The resort draws sports and recreational enthusiasts from all directions to enjoy nature Lake County offers. 

While J.D. and Troy will keep the resort alive and well, they do have fun plans for the community and patrons, such as having cornhole tournaments, and a gift shop to showcase and sell some of the things Troy makes. 

"We are outdoors people. We have lots of ideas and want to bring people in," Troy said. "You're going to see the same thing, but better." 

Rhonda and John are excited to see how everything will transpire. 

"I want to stand here 25 years from now and see what they will do. I'm excited about what they're going to do. It's going to be the best time of their lives," Rhonda said. "You can tell they are people-people." 


J.D. said the "Cloud 9" name is going to live on. Rhonda added it was called Cloud 9 when she bought it 25 years ago. 

"These four cabins here used to be pink — four little pink cabins. They were from the '40s , she said. 

John added to the best of his knowledge, the resort has been in full operation 365 days of the year, since 1947. It never closed. He said when Rhonda and Steven bought the place, they remodeled just about everything there. He added he's been there, owning it with Rhonda, 17 years.

"Charlie Bartram, our friend that worked at the sheriff's office, he gave me John. He sat him down and said, 'Here, he's for you,' Rhonda said, reflecting on how her and John met. 

Bartram was a big part of their lives, and their memories at Cloud 9. He gave Rhonda away in marriage to John, as her dad was not alive. Bartram's retirement party was there, with about 400 to 500 people in attendance, and before he died, he wanted one party he could attend. Cars lined up on the highway to be there for that special day. 

"He told me that was the best day of his life. He was loved," Rhonda said, mentioning how his grandkids still mow and clean the cabins, and will continue on with the new owners.

"That's what I love about it. It's all a family. It takes a village. It takes our friends and our neighbors and everybody, and they (Troy and J.D.) got all that. Everybody already likes them and they are friendly. They already joined AMVETS. They are doing the local thing. They've connected with 876 already." 

Both Troy and J.D. said that is one of the most important things — community. 

"You want someone who loves the area as much as you do. This is our home," J.D. expressed.

Rhonda said what is very special, what she and John enjoyed, and now is there for Troy and J.D. to enjoy; families come back through the years. 

"We have great clientele. I'd say 70% are repeat customers," Rhonda said. "You see people over and over. Their kids come, their grandkids come. John would teach the dad to fish, the son to fish and now the grandkids to fish. What's done here is a very good thing, and I'm very happy about it."