Joe Chiappetto


The last time this fellow appeared in 15 Minutes (May 2, 2002) he was owner of the Book Gallery in Sparks. Now he runs Marina Boat Rental at the Sparks Marina (, 379-4247, hours 10a.m. to 7 p.m., reservations available). We began the interview by asking about his transiency.

When I met you, you owned the Book Gallery. You went off to Asia for a year or so. You opened a comic book store in Sparks. You went off to Asia again. Now you have the boat rental. When will you decide what to do when you grow up?

When I get a little older. I don’t know when it’s going to end, so I don’t have an estimate.

Do you expect to still be running the marina boats a year from now?

Yes. It’s enjoyable. It’s outdoors. I mean, that’s a good enough reason right there. I always had a love of the outdoors, and I always liked boats and sunshine and exercise. I rent paddle boards as well as paddle boats.

How’s business?

This is my second year, and it’s vastly improved because I went to Groupon as a promotion as well as Deal Chicken.

You used something different last year, didn’t you?

I used Living Social last year. Unfortunately they wanted a 60/40 split instead of the typical 50/50 split. They [Groupon] advertise through email, and they offer everything at least half price. So the $30, two-hour board rental turns out to be 15 and then Groupon and I split that.

So far this is a pretty windy summer. How’s it affecting you?

Unfortunately, the wind has affected me, and I’ve had numerous cancellations and had to close a couple of days, especially Memorial Day. And free fishing day at the Marina was only a half day because of the wind. And yesterday and today [June 17-18] were also wind closings. With Groupon, they’re prepaid, so if they have reservations and it’s a wind day, then they just do it again in the future.

Is there an age limit?

As long as they have a parent or guardian sign for them. You can be 14 for the paddle boats.

Do people know about this site once being a polluted construction pit?

There’s a two-mile walk path around there, and somewhere along the path there’s a [marker] about how the marina was created. It tells about how deep it is and the history of it. The beach is open and people swim thereas well. They stock it with trout. There’s bass, trout and big catfish and carp there.

So what keeps you job-jumping?

I’m just an adventurer. I’ve worked a lot of jobs I like, but the horizon just always seems brighter.