“Sometime great things happen by chance and sometimes, they are just waiting for you to discover them.”
People often ask me , “How did you get into this business?” I tell them, it’s a funny story and not something we had really planned. My wife Robyn and I were running on the Little Miami trail while training for the Chicago Marathon in the fall of 2003. Between breaths, Robyn said, “Hey, the canoe business is for sale, we should buy it.” I laughed and said, “How exactly would we run a business like that with our busy lives”. At the time I was working full time in technology sales, she was teaching third grade and we had two daughters with active school and athletic schedules – this simply wouldn’t fit in our world.
I had always wanted to own my own business and we both loved the outdoors so we put in our offer. After some tenuous months of negotiations, our offer was accepted and then reality set in. We had both worked in retail and family restaurant establishments so we understood hard work and the importance of great customer service, but we had no idea what we were getting into.
We had the good fortune to hire some incredible staff members early on and together we began to learn the river and the canoe business. Our young team worked incredible hard and demonstrated a great commitment to our customers. The equipment we acquired was all close to end of life – 120 mostly leaky aluminum canoes, six rusty trailers held together with duct tape and luck and five old vans of which only three worked and a building that needed a ton of work. Somehow, the team seemed to rise to the occasion no matter how challenging the circumstances.
We’ve learned over the years that it’s not about the boats or the equipment, it’s about the experiences we create for our customers. Recanting stories about the Loveland Castle, the Frogman, the Peter’s Cartridge Factory or the Monkey Bar never get’s old. Seeing customers walk in all stressed out from life and later getting off the water with huge smiles on their faces. Listening to our young paddlers get all giddy about the turtles, frogs or oysters they discovered. Having families tell us that coming to our river has been a family tradition for 5, 10, 20 or more years.
It’s about our Super Hero team of young people that have shared their summers with our family. They bring energy and enthusiasm that recharges our batteries. As the years have gone by we have seen many of them grow into incredible adults with real jobs and families of their own. The have gone on to become Doctors, Navy Seals, Teachers, Physical Therapists, Army Rangers, Husband, Wives and Parents – we are so proud of all of them.
It’s hard to believe that this is our 13th season. We are so blessed to now live above the business and right next to our river. We have become a part of the community and are grateful for the wonderful neighboring businesses who have helped us to grow. Our love for this river and the wonderful town of Loveland grows each season. This is what river life is all about.
Our family and our staff hope that you enjoy your time with us and thank you for your business.
It’s Not Work If You’re Having Fun!