Hop aboard and meet the Adkins!

"You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat....."

We met up with Jack and Paula Adkins at the North Shore Marina in Ferrysburg where they store their 28-foot Sea Ray Sundancer.   It was a crisp, April evening but we managed to have fun with this photoshoot and enjoyed getting acquainted with this charming couple who have lived in Spring Lake for the past 27 years.  Paula is the inventor of a microfiber beach towel that doesn’t slip off the body or a chair. She formed her business, Fabelastic LLC in 2022.  Jack, while also working full time, helps out with this newer business venture.  I loved the feel of these towels so much, I bought one for myself and my mom for Mother’s Day! Please enjoy their lovely story.

Paula is originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin and Jack is from Muskegon, Michigan. “We think it’s rather ironic because we are both from cities about the same size, almost directly across Lake Michigan or the ‘Big Lake’ as people say,” says Paula.  “Jack has brought up to me on more than one occasion that Charles Hackley, an important figure in Muskegon’s history, also went to College in Kenosha.   Who knew!”  

The couple lived in Grand Rapids for 2 years, Kenosha for 5 years, and came back to Spring Lake about 27 years ago when their son Jeremy was 3.  While living in Grand Rapids, the family would often visit and fell in love with the area. “It’s something special to see deer running around the wooded dunes only a ¼ mile from the lake in addition to all the other spectacular wonders nature has to offer here on the lakeshore,” Paula tells Stroll Spring Lake.  “We really enjoy the parks, hiking, and especially our boating community at North Shore Marina. We have met so many good, fun people.”

This July the Adkins will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.  They were married in Giessen, West Germany while both serving in the US Army. The local Burgermeister, aka Mayor, officiated.  They served in different units but lived on the same base and met on gate guard duty where one serves for a month letting the people in and out of the base. Being 3,000 miles from home and in a foreign land led to the two 'hitting it off' by the end of gate duty.   “Jack asked me to marry him before I went to Austria skiing for a weekend with my co-worker,” says Paula.  “I came back from my trip with my answer, and we were married on July 13, 1989.   The next day we took off to Rome, Venice, and Florence, Italy for an impromptu honeymoon!”

The couple have a lot in common, two being their love for boating and the Beatles.  “What I admire about my husband Jack is that he’s one of a kind, funny and he has unconditional love for me,” says Paula.  When Jack got out of the Army, he made it a priority to fly back to Germany to be with Paula for another year until she completed her duties.  

Jack isn’t shy about sharing his mutual admiration for Paula either.  “Paula is the love of my life,” he tells us. “About 28 years ago we found out she is a type 1 diabetic. It can be overwhelming and scary for most to think about managing and living with it. She has become a champion of diabetes and although it is considered a non-curable disease by many, she looks at it as an opportunity to improve daily and not let it affect her lifestyle. I am very proud of her!”
 
Jack and Paula have one son, Jeremy, who is now 30 and a graduate of Spring Lake High School in 2012. He played basketball and football throughout his high school career and now helps Paula with Fabelastic LLC.  “We are very proud of the nice, helpful gentleman Jeremy has become,” says Paula.  Jack has a Bachelor of Science from Baker College and is a Business Development Manager at Baker Engineering in Nunica and at RSI Industries in Muskegon while also doing sales for Fabelastic LLC.  Paula is a veteran, woman-owned business owner here in Spring Lake.  After the Army, she attended Davenport Community College and got a Desktop Publisher associate's degree.

“I have had many jobs including my own Graphic Design business,” she tells us. “Late 2022, I started Fabelastic LLC and it’s starting to take off!” It’s a towel with an elastic loop that you can pull through and twist two times and it will not fall down.  In addition, you can tie it to the back of your beach chair, so it won’t slip.  “I was sitting in my hot tub one day, checking the chemicals and my towel kept slipping and it was driving me crazy!”  laughs Paula.  “I had to figure out a better way, so the Fabelastic towel was born.” Another woman-owned business by Katy Arnouts, "All in Stitches", out of Muskegon helps manufacture these towels.  
Locally you can find the towels at North Shore Marina, Surf Shop, and Barefoot Dave’s.  You can also purchase towels at www.fabelastictowel.com.

The Adkins have two Maine coons, which are both males.  Ollie was rescued when he was five from Tractor Supply in Fruitport in 2018. He was in bad shape, but now he’s 11, living the charmed life, and loves to hang out with Jack and Paula in the backyard on warm summer nights.  Their other cat’s name is ‘Frankie’ and he is 4 years old now and 22 lbs.  “Frankie is quite the foody!” says Paula.   

Jack and Paula belong to the Grand Haven VFW and American Legion and are also members of the St. Marys Church in Spring Lake.  “We love to support and shop locally and do that every chance we can along with attending events and donating some of our towels in the community,” explains Paula. “Our favorite place to frequent in town is Village Baker. We also appreciate what Barrett Boat Works has done getting our boat water ready for the season.” 

In the summertime, you can frequently find Jack and Paula at North Shore Marina in Ferrysburg.  Their favorite vacation spots in the off-season are the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. “On our 10th Anniversary we went to Boston/Cape Cod for a week and decided to go whale watching,” says Paula. “Jack was filming with the video camera and all of a sudden we hit 20–25-foot swells. He quickly handed the camera over to me.  Jack and several older ladies were getting sick on the boat.  A crew member was nonchalantly rinsing the deck with a hose. I got it all on video and still laugh just thinking about it now.”

Paula and Jack had walked the boardwalk in Grand Haven for about 18 years in envy watching all the boats in the channel go by.  They dreamed of having a little boat with a cabin in it so that they could cruise up and down the lakeshore but decided to start smaller.  So finally in 2017 the couple headed to the boat show in Grand Rapids and purchased a 2017 Harris Pontoon Boat. “This was a good little boat and we had fun anchoring it in Spring Lake and Grand Haven,” says Paula. “However, it became tedious putting the cover back on and off and having to come home all the time. We decided to put it up for sale in 2021.”
 
And so their search began for a new boat. They patiently waited until a gorgeous Sea Ray Sundancer with a navy canvas came up for sale.  After all the inspections, the Adkins took the deal and now have the cabin boat they dreamed of. “We’ve completely embraced the boater life," explains Paula. "We will pack a bag of clothes and spend weeks at a time on it throughout the summer at the marina.  We get the best of both worlds, living in beautiful Spring Lake and enjoying the perks of the big lake on our boat.  Just incredibly thankful we get to experience it all at this point in our lives!"