Wireless Woods and JJ’s Trading Post, owned by John and Jackie Wetrosky, recently became the dealer in a brand of kayak manufactured locally.
Jim Bergquist, owner of Crow Wing Kayaks, was searching for a retail location in Pine River to sell his kayaks. Because of the city’s location on its namesake river, Bergquist thought Pine River would be a logical location to sell his product.
“Pine River is a prime location because the river runs through the town,” he said. “The thing with Pine River, it’s an area that’s unique. It’s an area that I would normally cover myself, but I wasn’t able to find a building in that area that I could move to.”
Bergquist did find a solution.
“He (Bergquist) was looking for some kind of retail location and we said, ‘If you want to do consignments, we’ll take you on,’” Jackie said.
“I’m so busy putting them (the kayaks) together. I thought that I’d give them a shot at it,” Bergquist said.
The business has been carrying Crow Wing Kayaks since May 8. That makes JJ’s Trading Post the seventh retail location to deal in Crow Wing Kayaks, the nearest alternative being Bergquist in Fifty Lakes.
Bergquist said his kayaks are well suited to local consumers. They are not made for sea kayaking or white water kayaking, but instead for recreational use like fishing and hunting. They are locally made, and because they are sit-on-top style kayaks, Bergquist said they are better suited for amateurs.
“They’re a lot less intimidating to people. They can be used by a wider variety of people,” Bergquist said. “They are very stable, so they are good for little kids all the way up to older people.”
Bergquist said sit-on-top style kayaks are more suited to hunting and fishing because there is more room to move about.
“The larger ones would probably be more mobile,” Jackie said. “I think they’d be great for river fishing. I think it would be an awesome kayak route from the dam up to the lake and back because you don’t have to deal with wake or wind or anything else. That would be a great place to use a kayak. I’d like somebody to start a rental thing, but we’re not going to do that.”
Doug Taylor of Pine River is considering just that. He is in discussion with Bergquist to offer kayak tours of the Pine River, along with kayak rental. Taylor said he has already received a lot of interest and a test ride down the river was already taken to prove that the business venture was feasible.
Bergquist manufactures his kayaks in Brainerd and Fifty Lakes. Crow Wing Kayaks makes two sizes of kayak in three models each. Bergquist said they are also developing a 12-foot model with two pointed ends.
JJ’s Trading Post will carry at least one of each style of kayak as well as a small assortment of accessories. Bergquist is also looking to expand the retail sales and rental. He could soon be selling his product in Michigan and the Boundary Waters.