CASSOPOLIS, Mich. - Some are saying the village of Cassopolis is about to see a tourism renaissance and it’s all because of one man.
Roger Pecina, a retired dentist, opened two museums in the city over the past year and has more projects on the way. Pecina said he doesn’t make money on the projects but is motivated by the thought of Cassopolis thriving.
“This building had been vacant for the last 30 years. It was condemned by the city, it was going to be torn down,” Pecina said walking through his first project, the old Sinclair gas station in downtown Cassopolis.
It took three years to renovate the dilapidated building into a 1950’s replica gas station museum. It opened this summer and Pecina said it did well. “Tons of visitors all the time, all summer long.”
It’s not the only museum Cass saw open this summer. Pecina turned an old car dealership into a vintage boat museum. “It had been empty for some time and had been an eyesore in the community,” he said.
All 100 boats and 35 cars inside the museum are part of his now, not-so-personal collection. “The older you get, you think ‘what good is this stuff if nobody is seeing it’,” he said.
Pecina, a retired dentist and successful businessman has lived in Cassopolis for the past 30 years. He’s always loved the town but wondered why tourism is minimal.
In his retirement, it’s his mission to change that. “If I can bring one person to town, that wouldn’t normally come here, than I’ve given back to the community,” he said.
His museums are the first step, but he’s not done. Pecina plans on opening a 1950’s diner in the boat museum and is restoring the old post office downtown into a bar for banquets and gatherings.
He thinks if he gets the ball rolling others will follow his lead. “If I can do something and if somebody else says ‘oh wow that’s cool maybe it’ll do something cool’ than I’ve done my job.”