Updated 9:54 a.m.
The Grass Shack, a boating business near Lake Lanier, was open Wednesday morning, but it definitely was not business as usual.
"As of now, I'm the only one here," Grass Shack employee Jean Aubin said by telephone.
The reason is understandable. The Grass Shack is owned by the Prince family of Buford, which lost a 9-year-old son in a boating collision Monday night on Lake Lanier. A 13-year-old Prince son still is missing because of the crash.
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"I just came in," Aubin said. "I don't know if anyone else will." He noted that normally, the business would be buzzing with employees and customers.
Michael Prince Jr., active in the family business, was piloting a pontoon boat Monday with family members aboard when the collision occurred. Killed was Prince Jr.'s 9-year-old son, Jake. Still missing is Prince Jr.'s son Griffin, 13.
According to Aubin, who works in the business's service department, Michael Prince Jr. and his brother David run day to day operations at the Grass Shack, which has been in business since 1991.
Michael Prince Sr., the principal owner, was out of town delivering a boat to Florida on Monday, Aubin said.
Aubin said he learned of the boating accident Tuesday via his iPhone. He thought that the kids involved were "pretty much the same age as Mike's kids. so I decided to call Michael, and he told me."
"I couldn't believe he was able to speak."
The Grass Shack enjoys a fine reputation outside the Gwinnett area, according to its website.
One testimonial reads: "I purchased a boat from David Prince over the internet and drove from Columbus, OH, to Atlanta, GA to pick it up. Upon arrival the boat was ready to go and David & I took the boat out for a test drive. There were a couple minor issues that I brought to Davids attention and he immediately corrected them. When Im in the market for a new boat or accessories, I will deal with David again."
Aubin also noted that some customers have called since the news broke. "They were upset."
Patch will have more coverage of this incident.