Conley Bottom Resort stands out among the other marinas on Lake Cumberland, and any visitor can see what makes it a special place. Charlie Denny and his wife Polly started the business in 1953, and three generations of the Denny family still own and operate the business. Guests see all three generations represented at Conley Bottom each day.
Charlie is often seen talking with guests in the shop or riding around on his golf cart. His daughter Robin and her husband Fred Piercy now manage the marina. Their daughter Amber is the office manager, and their son Knox also works at the marina.
Many of the employees are in the Denny family, and those who aren’t blood relatives often get confused for family. That’s okay with Amber, who said that “the employees are like family. The customers are like family. When we say we’re a family here, we mean we’re a family here.”
It’s evident that being a family business is a core value to the team at Conley Bottom, and it makes them stand out even more as the only family-owned marina on Lake Cumberland. They started as a very small marina when the lake was just beginning to be used for recreation, and they now have over 1100 slips. Conley Bottom also offers boat rentals, camping and lodging. They have a store with groceries, boating gear, souvenirs and more. Customers love the famous Conley Bottom ice cream they serve!
Amber grew up at the marina, and her earliest job was doing dishes at the café. “My grandparents have an incredible work ethic. My parents have an incredible work ethic. And they instilled that in us,” she said. The first rule of the job was to “greet everyone you see here,” and she continues to follow that rule years later.
Amber said that the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the customers and crew come back year after year and knowing that they had a positive experience. Most of their customers are from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, but they also see guests from Texas, Wisconsin and even farther away. The crew at Conley Bottom usually gets to know their customers personally, and they treat everyone like family.
That’s the reason why Conley Bottom values its partnership with First Southern National Bank. “We have banked with First Southern for years,” Amber said. “They treat you like family, and that’s what we try to do here.”
First Southern was able to help after a devastating fire destroyed the marina’s store and café in 2019. “They were here for us after the fire, and without them, it would not be possible,” Amber said. Now, the store is rebuilt and bigger than before, and the new café is called ‘Charlie’s Corner,’ paying homage to the family’s patriarch.
“Conley Bottom is important to our community because of their workforce, and they impact tourism dollars in the Lake Cumberland area tremendously,” said Tim Hopper, Monticello Community President. “I think part of the special aspect Conley Bottom brings is the family-oriented operation that they run.”
The Denny family and Conley Bottom crew hope the marina provides recreation for the community for years to come.