News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Hoffmann company acquires Starline Ferry Co.

Visitor's entrance to Star Line Ferry in Mackinaw City on May 14, 2024.
Michael Livingston
IPR News
Visitor's entrance to Star Line Ferry in Mackinaw City on May 14, 2024.

Most of Mackinac Island’s passenger ferries are now owned by the same company.

The Hoffmann Family of Companies announced the acquisition of Starline Ferries this week and says business will continue as normal.

The Starline vessels rebranded a couple years ago under the name “Mackinac Island Ferry Company.” While the smiling star logo is on billboards throughout Mackinac City, the ferries themselves have since rebranded.

Hoffmann also bought Shepler’s Ferry in 2022 — the only other major passenger ferry to the island. 

The president of the company’s marine endeavors told the Detroit Free Press all jobs will remain. She did not disclose the price of the sale. 

“We are thrilled to acquire the Mackinac Island Ferry Company, further expanding our presence in the Mackinac community and marine industry," said a statement from 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.”

The multi-billion dollar company now owns nearly 50 vessels across seven states. 

Hoffmann also owns two local newspapers, the Mackinac Island Town Crier and St. Ignace News. The firm says it’s the largest owner of real estate parcels in the Mackinac area.

The firm consists of over 100 global brands, and employs 11,000 employees with businesses located in 30 countries and 400 locations around the world.

Starline was founded in the late 1970s and has nearly a dozen ferries in its fleet. It cost $31 for a round-trip adult ticket to the island and an additional $17 for a pass to bring your own bike.

Over a million people visit the island per year, according to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.

Copyright 2024 Interlochen Public Radio

Michael Livingston reports for IPR from the tip-of-the-mitt – mainly covering Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties.
Related Content