Nestled in the sloping hills of Carroll County, on the outskirts of Minerva, Ohio — which sits about 90 minutes west of Pittsburgh and 90 minutes south of Cleveland — lies Great Trail Golf Course.
The 27-hole resort has been a Minerva-area staple for nearly 55 years, providing opportunities for golfers and others since 1969.
And, until recently, it had always been in the Fry family. The last three decades Steve and Cathy Fry owned the 330-acre property and guided its operations. Steve Fry’s father and brother started Great Trail and it evolved over time.
“It was our way of life,” Steve Fry said.
Now in their 60s, Steve and Cathy Fry decided to retire from the business full-time and sold the property.
The buyers are five Minerva natives — Amanda and Andy Conrad, Steve Ogden, Nate Shriver and Nehemiah Shriver — who saved the property from a potential auction. They took the keys in late October. The Conrads and Ogden used to work there for the Frys.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Steve Fry said. “It was like a godsend for those people to come together.”
Andy Conrad: ‘In our minds, auction meant no golf course.’
The Conrads, owners of Sandy Springs Brewing Company, first met at Great Trail. They were off-and-on co-workers for several years. Amanda Conrad helped in the pro shop and with catered events. Andy Conrad learned mechanical skills as a course maintenance worker.
They later married.
With those memories, the Conrads weren’t going to let Great Trail hit the auction block — an option for the Frys — believing the course would close permanently and the property might become just another housing development if it did.
“In our minds, auction meant no golf course,” Andy Conrad said.
Determined, the Conrads brought friends Ogden and the Shrivers into the project. Ogden, who now lives in Nashville, also used to work at Great Trail. The Shrivers, owners of R&S Cement, had been looking to partner with the Conrads for some time.
Together, they bought the property for about $1.7 million.
Like the others, Nehemiah Shriver said he sees the resort as an opportunity to grow into a destination spot, that draws more people to the Minerva area, and provides jobs for the community. He also hopes the property continues to offer that family atmosphere.
“It’s an opportunity really to pull not just those golf enthusiasts but the entire family, possibly just to…