The Mackinac Island Ferry Company that serves the popular Michigan lake resort community has been acquired by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, a Florida-based family-owned private equity firm.

“Joining the Hoffmann Family of Companies heralds a new era for Mackinac Island Ferry Company,” said Jerry Fetty, CEO of Mackinac Island Ferry Company. “Our diverse fleet, including Hydro-Jet ferries, catamarans, classic ferries and pirate ship, will complement their marine division while maintaining our unique identity. We are optimistic about the future, dedicated to maintaining our high standards of service, contributing to the thriving Mackinac Island community and continuing to invest in our future.”

In 2022, Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Company rebranded as the Mackinac Island Ferry Company to consolidate its brand assets, including the Star Line Mackinac Island Hydro-Jet® Ferry fleet from the 1970s, the Arnold Line Ferry fleet operational since 1878, and the Mackinac Marine Services (MMS) shipyard established in 2019.  All were included in the current purchase by Hoffmann.

The purchase expands Hoffmann Marine’s fleet portfolio to 46 vessels in seven states, according to a June 29 statement from Hoffmann. It further cements Hoffmann’s close business, community and local news media ties in the Mackinac region.

In May 2024 the company acquired Sip ‘n Sail, a dinner cruise operation.  Other Hoffmann-owned businesses in the Mackinac area include Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, the St. Ignace News, and the Mackinac Island Town Crier. 

“With this expansion, HF Companies now owns more than 116 parcels of land, including docks in Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, and St. Ignace, 51 buildings and 6,500 parking spaces. This makes the company the largest owner of real estate parcels in the area and employer to 500 people in the Mackinac area,” according to the Hoffman statement.

“We are thrilled to acquire the Mackinac Island Ferry Company, further expanding our presence in the Mackinac community and marine industry,” said Jenny Gezella, president of Hoffmann Marine. “Our commitment to providing first-class, efficient transportation remains steadfast, and we look forward to continuing to serve both residents and visitors to this special island.”

Gezella will be on the island this season to oversee the transition, Co-CEO Greg Hoffmann said. Between the Mackinac and Shepler’s ferry companies, there are about two dozen boats that are in daily service.

"To ensure a seamless transition, Jenny will be on the island this season, ensuring guests continue to enjoy exceptional trips and to drive new business," said Hoffmann. "In addition to overseeing a local fleet of 24 boats, Jenny remains committed to maintaining high standards across all operations."