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  • 1. TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS CANOE / KAYAK / TUBING RENTAL BUSINESS Located on the James River in Botetourt County, VA
  • 2. TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS
    • TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS is a full service canoe livery that rents canoes, kayaks, and inner tubes on the James & Maury Rivers in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.
    • We are the oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James River and has been safely running river trips since 1978.
    • We run trips on nearly 100 miles of rivers in the upper James River Basin area providing a wide variety of paddling opportunities to suit every level of paddler.
  • 3. OWNER’S BACKGROUND
    • TRO is owned and managed by twin brothers John & Dan Mays
      • Always wanted to own an outdoor recreation business
      • Both had bachelor degrees in business
      • Both did the corporate job for 10+ years
      • Always wanted to be our own boss
      • Both loved outdoors and paddling
      • Neither of us ever worked had ever worked in a paddle sports rental business
  • 4. COMPANY HISTORY
    • James River Basin Canoe Livery was started in April 1978 by Glen Rose in Rockbridge County, VA who ran successfully for over 25 years
    • In 2004 the previous owner decided to retire and started looking for a buyer
    • In 2004 the Mays brothers purchased property in Glasgow, VA and were in process of starting a competing canoe livery
    • In mid 2004 the Mays brothers were mobilized as member of US Naval Reserves and spent 10 months on active duty including 6 months in Iraq
    • While mobilized and serving in Iraq was contacted via email to purchase James River Basin Canoe Livery
    • Negotiations ensued via satellite phone from Iraq to Lexington, and eventually we decided to purchase existing company
    • In May 2005 we purchased the business and renamed it Twin River Outfitters reflecting new ownership
  • 5. TRO TODAY
    • We run a successful tourism business that serves thousands of customers per year
    • Since taking over the company in 2005 we have maintained grown every year from 8 – 20%.
    • We own and manage a canoe fleet of 40 canoes, 40 kayaks, and 50 rental tubes
    • In 2010 we opened the “James River House” a 5 room inn, located 1 block from our canoe livery business to add a lodging component to our business
    • In the future we are looking to expand with a camp ground or rental cabins
  • 6. LESSONS LEARNED
    • PICK GOOD BUSINESS LOCATION
    • SUFFICIENT START UP CAPITAL
    • INTERNET MARKETING
    • MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW
    • BE ABLE TO WEAR MANY HATS
    • ADAPT AND ADJUST
    • LONG HOURS
  • 7. BUSINESS LOCATION
    • KEY TO SUCESSFUL BUSINESS
    • LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
    • PROXIMITY TO TARGET MARKET
    • RIVER FRONT PROPERTY
        • Greatly simplified our operation
  • 8. SUFFICIENT START UP CAPITAL
    • TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY
    • “ ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY”
    • BUT YOU NEED TO START WITH BIG ENOUGH OPERATION THAT CAN SUPPORT YOURSELF
    • IT CAN TAKE SEVERAL YEARS TO TURN PROFITABLE, NEED CONTINOUS FUNDING DURING START UP PERIOD
  • 9. INTERNET MARKETING
    • Need an attractive & functional website
    • # 1 Way new customers find us is via internet search
    • Biggest bang for your marketing dollars, canoevirginia.com & canoevirginia.net
      • Enter “CANOE VIRGINIA” or a variation and we routinely come up in top 5 search results for Yahoo, Google, & MSN.
    • New trends social media (i.e. Face Book), opt in email marketing campaigns
  • 10. MANAGE CASH FLOW
    • SEASONAL BUSINESS - 85% OF INCOME GENERATED IN 4 MONTHS OF YEAR
    • RETAIL BUSINESS DO WELL FROM THANKSGIVING TO CHRISTMAS
    • WHAT DO IN OFF SEASON?? Do you need other income sources to make it through the rest of the year???
    • NEED SOME YEAR ROUND INCOME, AND DISCIPLINED BUDGETING SKILLS
  • 11. MUST WEAR MANY HATS
    • SHUTTLE DRIVER
    • INSTRUCTOR
    • SALES GUY
    • MANAGER
    • ACCOUNTANT
    • JANITOR
    • INN KEEPER
    • TRAVEL AGENT
    • MECHANIC
    • WEB MASTER
    • GROUNDS KEEPER
    • BUS DRIVER
    • RIVER GUIDE
  • 12. CONTINOUSLY ADAPT AND ADJUST
    • MUST BE WILLING TO ADJUST SERVICE MIX BASED ON CUSTOMER DEMAND AND CHANGING TRENDS
      • Tubing - previous owner did not offer
      • Kayaking – previous owner had 4, we now have 40
      • Canoes – less demand
      • Added lodging component to business
      • Private boater shuttle service
      • Cell phone usage
  • 13. LONG HOURS
    • In season frequently work 7 days a week / 70 plus hours week
    • Reachable by phone 24 /7 when customers are on water or at Inn
      • 6 am canoe campers w/ boats floating down stream
      • 1 am pick up for Adventure racer who missed take out
      • 8 pm boat recovery Memorial day weekend
    • Definitely not a 9 am – 5 pm job
    • Down time in off season
  • 14. POSSIBLE BUSINESS IDEAS
    • Zip line / canopy tours
    • Dude ranch
    • Road biking support company
    • Bed & breakfast lodging
    • Canoe / kayak rental
    • Horseback riding
    • ATV rentals
    • Bait & tackle shop
    • Outfitter store
    • Guided camping trip
    • Guided fishing service
    • Paintball company
    • Tour bus based guided trips
    • Summer camp
    • Camp ground
    • Cabin rental
    • Outdoor skills instruction
  • 15. BEST OF LUCK STARTING YOUR OUTDOOR TOURISM BUSINESS
    • THANKS FOR YOUR TIME TODAY