SANDUSKY, OHIO, August 10, 2020 --- Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the destination marketing organization for Erie and Ottawa counties, is proud to announce that its new welcome center in downtown Sandusky is now open!

Located at 125 E. Water Street, just one block up from the shore of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie, the welcome center occupies the first and second floors of the historic Biemiller building, which first opened in 1866. Its original occupants were members of the German Turnverein Association, which promoted gymnastics, athletics, and German culture and language. Over the years, two different hotels operated there and most recently, the Volunteers of America used the building until 1989, after which it remained vacant for more than 30 years.

Lake Erie Shores and Islands President Larry Fletcher commented, “the Shores and Islands staff team and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this historic space back to life as we become part of the ongoing growth of Sandusky. Many thanks to our board, city officials, the developer’s representative Bob Hare, and many others for their work to bring this project to fruition.”

The building was purchased and renovated by local development group, Renaissance Too. Renovation work was set back considerably in July of 2018 when strong winds blew the roof off the building. Fortunately, no one was injured, but construction work ended up being more extensive than originally planned. After two years of renovation and construction, the building is ready to once again be a vital part of the community. In addition to Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the upper levels will be used for residential living.

Sandusky City Manager Eric Wobser attended the proceedings on behalf of the city commission and staff to thank Renaissance Too and Lake Erie Shores & Islands for taking on a project to bring new life to a historic building in the heart of the city. He commented, “while we’re all dealing with a very difficult time at present, we know better days will come and are thrilled to have Shores and Islands with its broad regional perspective make downtown Sandusky their Erie County home, and look forward to continued partnership in the years ahead.”    

Guests will notice a number of local touches depicting the region’s history and many upcycled parts of the original building. For instance, the front desk was constructed by local artist Benny Byington using original ceiling tin, while a lighthouse-themed brochure stand was made with wood from the original flooring.

The welcome center will be open Monday through Friday, 10 am-3 pm, and Saturday, 10 am-2 pm through the end of August. Check online at for current operating hours. Lake Erie Shores & Islands also operates a welcome center on SR 53 in Port Clinton. The welcome centers offer area travel information, maps, brochures, and valuable discount offers.



CONTACT Jill Bauer at for high-res versions of the photos.


Shores & Islands Ohio is the Midwest’s favorite getaway. This coastal destination boasts 152 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, the best fishing on the Great Lakes, welcoming communities, rich history, a wine trail, and an abundance of family-friendly attractions. World-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park calls it home, along with Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, other indoor and outdoor water parks, animal parks, sports venues, and more. Visitors enjoy ferries and cruises to Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass, and Kelleys Island. One of the country’s best areas for spring and fall bird migration, the area is overflowing with natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. More at

Media Contact:

Jill Bauer, Public Relations Manager
Shores & Islands Ohio
Phone: 419.625.9495