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Jim Bergquist’s shop, formerly known as Crow Wing Kayaks, has undergone an expansion and name change thanks to help from other area businesses. Photo by Travis Grimler

Crosslake business expands to bicycle, paddleboard rental

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A year after he began selling kayaks out of his Crosslake shop, Jim Bergquist’s business expanded and underwent a name change.

Bergquist owns the Crow Wing Kayak company that produces kayaks designed for fishing and hunting. With the start of the spring fishing season he expanded and rebranded his company, which is now called Wind, Water and Wheels. He not only sells kayaks and paddleboards, but rents kayaks, paddleboards and bicycles as well.

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“We’ve gotten this down to a system we think is working. The other thing is we’ve added new dealers, so we’ve got to get more of these (kayaks) out there. We’ve added the paddleboards, and we’ve added the bikes,” Bergquist said.

Bergquist said his business expansion was made possible through cooperation from business owners in neighboring communities.

“Jenny (Smith) from Cycle, Path and Paddle in Crosby is leasing me the bikes. With the paddleboards, it is Evan (Lawrence) from Minnesota Surf Company over in Nisswa. It is the same thing there. I told him, ‘I don’t have money to put out for any boards, but I’ve got a great location.’ So he’s doing the same thing ...” Bergquist said. “There’s no way I could do it. It would be thousands and thousands of dollars. But I thought this was a good way to get my foot in the door.”

Bergquist has also put a lot of leg work and promotion into his rentals. He is working with the city of Crosslake, the Army Corps of Engineers and Pine River-Backus Community Education, along with organizations, churches and community groups to promote not only his business, but the Pine River and local bicycle paths.

“We’re trying to work with resorts, camps and churches and stuff like that. If they need a bunch of them all at once, we are able to do that,” Bergquist said.

Bergquist has maps for would-be renters of kayaks or bicycles so his customers know where to go and how long it will take to get there.

“I’ve got the river divided up into 12 different trips (ranging from one to six hours) that overlap,” he said.

He provides a limited shuttle service within about a 20-mile radius of his shop for those who want to kayak down the river, but don’t want to leave their vehicles at one end or the other.

Travis Grimler can be reached at travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him at facebook.com/PEJTravis and on Twitter @PEJ_Travis.

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