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Sarnia native pioneered timeshare concept in North America

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As a student, Keith Trowbridge recruited other Sarnians to attend Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a group that became known as “The Sarnia Stars.” This photo was taken in 1961. Back row, from left: Bob Train; Bill Geary; Carl Madery; Keith Trowbridge; Gene Fleet; Don Hunter; Ted Evans and Al Duncan; and kneeling in front: Morley Welch and Paul Burke. Submitted Photo
Cathy Dobson

In the vacation property world, Sarnia native Keith Trowbridge is a giant.

When conventional property sales were going through a rough patch in the ‘70s, Trowbridge devised a concept to attract more buyers at a lower price.

He calls it ‘vacation ownership’ but it’s more commonly known as timeshare and it’s a big business. At least three million North Americans own timeshares around the world.

“When I came up with this, Europe had timeshares, where people leased their place to people who took their vacation the same week every year,” the 81-year-old Trowbridge explained via phone from his Florida home.

“I took it a step further, where you owned that week so you could buy it, rent it, or trade it to go elsewhere. The key word is ownership.”


Keith Trowbridge

In 1974, Trowbridge developed the first timeshare resort in North America on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida. All 31 units sold in 18 months.

Skeptics initially didn’t understand the advantages of owning their vacation, he said. But it didn’t take long before consumers embraced the idea of sharing the property taxes and maintenance of their vacation property with 50 others.

http://thesarniajournal.ca/sarnia-native-pioneered-timeshare-concept-in-north-america/ [nofollow]
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